Single Mums Business Magazine - Spring 2022

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ISSN 2752-9517 (online version)

SPRING ISSUE 2022 £4.90 Social Impact Review Flexible Working

Meet the lady helping distressed families buy homes!

Franchise Success

- Pets 2 Places SmallBiz100

Ethical property Investing with

Purple Shoots & much more!

Pollyanna England

‘Small Business - Big Difference’ Meet MIYB Founder Alison Cork and learn about her Ukraine appeal

Awards 2021 Wellbeing Matters

Universal Credit Minimum Income Floor

Men’s Mental Health

Making Work Work

Signposting for Men

21. Wellbeing Matters

33. SmallBiz100

47. Pets 2 Places Franchise Success

SMBN Social Impact Review

53. Flexible working Agencies

Men’s Mental Health

82. Minimum Income Floor

84. Purple Shoots Responsible Finance


94-97 Alison Cork ‘Make it Your Business’, Interview and her #smallbusinessbigdifference Ukraine Appeal

Legal Columnist #AskLucinda

Published by KIH Products Ltd T/A SMBN

Contact l Registered Company No: 08623700 Est July 2014

Single Mums Business Network aka SMBN Business Network for Single Mums in the United Kingdom

Welcome to the Single Mums Business Magazine, a publication that showcases and celebrates single parents in the UK whilst helping to raise awareness of some unnecessary barriers to homes, work, and finance. When I founded the SMBN in 2019 I could never imagined how many amazing solo parents I would meet, all doing the best to utilise their skillsets, make work work, and not only survive, but thrive in a one income per household situation. This magazine was created to support their business exposure and give them an opportunity to voice their own challenges, in a bid to help others. We are all pretty fragile at the moment, barely having time to recover from the pandemic, flooding either side, the cost of living, fighting for our own kind of survival yet being acutely aware of, and doing what we can to support the Ukraine Crisis. It is never easy, when you witness such tragedy to try and practice gratitude when you are still suffering in your very own reality.

Together we are stronger,

this has always been the

undercurrent of my own work, to try and collaborate with others to try and make a difference without holding any political weight. In this issue we celebrate Alison Cork and her #smalbusinessbigdifference campaign, whereby she has reached out to all UK Small Businesses to donate £1 each to the Ukraine Appeal in conjunction with the Daily Mail, and we are also celebrating our cover girl Pollyanna England, who is leading by example and making home ownership possible, for those of us who otherwise seem to be heading for a lifetime of renting and worrying about private rents and eviction in our 90th year. We have a lot of problems to tackle, that could quite easily be solved with the right vision, understanding and leadership, and we will continue to work 24/7 until we see positive change, for all of humanity. Since 2019 SMBN magazines and blog posts have been shared with all stakeholders and has enabled us to be instrumental in education and change. Thank you to all of you who have given us airtime, press, and listened to and shared our insight and cries for help.

Meet my smbn business partners! Nehaya Zitawi and….. I am Nehaya; Mum, Fitness Instructor, Wellness Coach and now the Head of Members' Wellbeing and Engagement for the SMBN!

Supporting others has always come naturally to me whether in my professional or personal life, and so I jumped at the chance to be more invested in the SMBN: I am hopeful that the three of us can make a difference not just for all the single parents, but also for the children being raised facing that same stigma and struggle, which so many are still oblivious to. I became self employed so that I could develop an individual centred bespoke support package for people struggling with low self worth and motivation: I had seen how the care sector had let down so many families and children by constantly using the same "one size fits all" solution, instead of working with the person's styles and interests to create a more realistic programme and therefore gain better outcomes. I quickly learnt that as great as

my experience and expertise in these areas were, I had no clue on marketing, advertising or what a Business Plan was! It was then whilst networking that I discovered how the words "mum" and "divorced" were toxic in business, being tarnished with the stigma of being lazy, unreliable or wanting a handout. After being in £40k jobs and the top, this was a new low. So when I met Julie and the SMBN, it was a breath of fresh air to be with people who got me. I am hoping that my role will allow all of the members to feel safe and supported no matter what is going on. Whether it is an emotional or physical battle, we are here to fight it together and not feel alone anymore. My virtual door is always open, waiting with either a hug, a joke, or just a listening ear.

Laura Callahan…. I am first and foremost mum to Robyn and Barnaby and secondly the founder of Willow HR Consultancy. Those who have met me may have picked up that I am quite loud (I can’t even yawn quietly), energetic, enthusiastic, smiley, eternally optimistic and I get too excited discussing and debating business ideas (better than trains or stamps I guess)!

Five years ago, I sat cross legged on my living room floor with an old laptop, and a baby and a toddler running round me, and took the big decision to start a business. I knew nothing about running a business at the time, but I did know that I needed flexibility to be with my children as a single mum and I knew quite a bit about HR, so I thought I would give it my best shot. Turns out, I was a bit alright at running a business and five years later, I have a team of six consultants, a long list of fantastic clients and a big fancy office for us all to sit in. There was no magic formula, it was; sheer determination + tonnes of hard work + courage + blind faith + stubbornness + sleepless nights + humility + asking lots of questions + lots of listening + kindness of strangers to give me their time and advice…..and probably a lot more I have forgotten.

I originally joined the SMBN because I needed to find my tribe who would understand how equally hard and rewarding it is to be a business owner AND a single mum, and I was massively drawn to the energy of Julie, as our Chief. But now, I have accepted Julie’s request to be a partner so that I can do more to help the group as a whole, and individual members to start, develop or grow their business.

I want to share what I have learned with you, and I want to support all of us to learn from each other, for the benefit of the group, ourselves and our precious babies; big and small. LAURA CALLAHAN HR Consultant

This is my (Jules) issue with barriers to homeownership. I welcome submissions that calculate inflation but this gives you an idea why Nirvana Investors are so important….

Our Cover Girl Pollyanna England is brainchild and founder of Nirvana Investors. We are also very proud that Pollyanna is a member of the SMBN and on the next two pages you can read about Pollyanna’s journey, how she set up Nirvana Investors and how many families she has already helped into home ownership!

Pollyanna’s work is SO valuable and a true lifeline when you are trapped into a lifetime of renting instead of paying into your own estate.

Thank you Pollyanna for the work that you do and for leading by example. Please read the next two pages to learn about Pollyanna’s incredible work and how YOU can help.

Nirvana Investors celebrated their first Anniversary on 16th October 2021 and at the SMBN we are so proud of what they have managed to achieve.

Alimenti was set up following my experience of working with small food producers in my role with Sodexo, as the technical lead for the buying team. I had coached several micro and small business owners through the approval process and felt that I could make a living from doing this independently.

I have a wealth of experience as a microbiologist and technical manager working in factories producing everything from bacon to ready meals. I was also commissioned to write a chapter for a handbook for global distribution for 3M on rapid hygiene assessment technologies. If you would like a free download, get in touch for the link. My clients now range from start

ups to established food businesses that want to grow their business. They are producing ready meals, sauces and pastes, snacks, and alcohol, at all temperature ranges from frozen through chilled to ambient, as well as handling these in a warehouse. They use all sorts of packaging from bottles to cases to trays made from plastic, compostable material and wood.

There are allergen free products and allergenic products in the mix. Some of my clients have accreditations such as SALSA.

I am qualified as a BRCGS lead auditor for food.

Alimenti Food Sciences- getting to the core of food safety

Louise Roberts I am always happy to have an informal chat with food business owners who want to grow their business.

My website is I can help food producers with any aspect of food safety from HACCP to microbiological testing plan review. Whilst a HACCP plan, and its review is a legal requirement, testing plans are often set up and left running with no one on the organization qualified to review them. I can help with this and may even save you money on the testing required.

Get in touch and let’s talk about what keeps you awake at 3am. Let me take the stress of food safety away and you can sleep again.

Holistic Fitness and Coaching Lidia Peto

About me

Hello my name is Lidia Peto, people call me Lids for short. I am half Hungarian and half English and was born and bred in South Africa. I lost my dad at a very young age, I had only just turned 10. My mother raised my brother and I on her own, doing the best she could as a single parent, l lost her at the age of 22. My young life was filled with poverty, hurt, anger, trauma and abuse. However I learnt from a young age that despite what life throws at me, I would learn to make the best of it and never give up. I am a single mom and Carer to a beautiful teenage daughter who has additional needs. I am an Entrepreneur, Personal Trainer, Nutritional Advisor, Inspirational life coach. I used to work full-time in the corporate world holding down stressful jobs for over 15 years.

(Single mom’s life in South Africa 2004-2011) My life with my daughter’s dad was good while I was pregnant and for the first 2 years of her precious life. Sadly we split up and my dream of giving my little daughter of 2 and half years a fulfilled life of having a mother and father raise her was destroyed. I was shattered, and heartbroken and mostly I was broken for my baby. She found it so hard, crying for her dad, her dad that decided he would not be part of her life more than he had to be. This was really tough for her. I had to be strong for both of us.

‘I had days when I would drown my sorrows in wine and was smoking, mostly because I did not know how else to cope with what was going on in my life’

(The Big news - 2003) I was 29 years old, living the life of a young ambitious lady, partying it up and enjoying life. I was working full-time, drove a BMW and was living the high life. I had so many plans, dreams and goals. I was planning to go overseas and study to be an aerobics instructor. I was friends with a guy and we were sort of dating, spending lots of time together partying a lot. As things progressed we got together and just enjoying life as you do when you’re young, no hassles or worries. Then, one day the Big News was announced. “I was pregnant”. To be honest for many parents this is the best news ever, but sadly for me on this day I felt like my entire life changed. Initially it was a sad day but not for long, when the news sunk in I was so happy that I was going to be a mom. When my daughter was born nothing could take away that amazing feeling of bringing a little miracle into this world. My life was about my daughter from that day on and I vowed to protect and care for her no matter what.

As a single mother now in South Africa with a 2 and a half year old little girl, I made a choice to get on with life and give my daughter the best I could as a single mother. Endless court battles over finance, living in huge debt, continuous fights over parental responsibilities. Throughout this I stood tall and would not give up. I had every second weekend to myself so was able to enjoy the odd night with friends. I won’t lie and say it was easy, it was hell. I did not have my parents to support me. I had the help of some friends but was predominantly on my own. Living on my own with my toddler, I learnt to be the man and the woman of the house. I could do an amazing barbecue, learnt to be my own handy man, I even owned a purple tool box (yes it’s my favourite colour). It’s overwhelming just thinking about the roles I had to play all the time but I had to as I had to make sure my precious daughter was ok and happy...

I guess I over compensating sometimes, I didn’t always make the right choices but I always did what I thought was best. My daughter had a good life growing up in South Africa amidst all the turmoil, stress, depression and anxiety in my life and my heart – I feel proud that I was able to protect her from that. (The Big Move 2011) I always wanted a better life for my daughter and myself, somehow I have always had a fighter spirit despite what life has thrown at me, I learnt from a young age to make the best of it. I guess I got that from my parents mostly my dad. I always felt like I could do more or achieve more or be better in life. So I packed up and moved my daughter and I all the way from South Africa to the UK. (Yes you heard correctly, we moved over to UK on our own) I have had some tough times in my life and been through hell, but moving to a new country on your own with a 7 year old was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. The day came to say goodbye, it was so hard. My daughter had to say goodbye to her father and family, my heart still breaks when I think of that day. And all the other times she cried because she missed her dad and her family. The guilt, shame and heartbreak was indescribable, I felt like a failure and a fool for taking my daughter away from her dad. But I knew and I still know it was the right choice, I had to do this. I had to live in the UK and give her a better life and future. Sometimes we make these choices and it hurts but it’s the right choice. (Survival mode in England 2011-2016) Settling into our new life in UK was really hard. I found a job, I was working and managed to give my daughter what she needed. I made sure we went on holidays, we were able to go to Disneyland Paris and she had a birthday party every year. We had fun just the 2

of us. Living in a new country felt like a new world, so many adventures, new things to explore, it was amazing. Amazing but with challenges. My daughter was going through tough times at school, she was bullied, she didn’t really have friends, and she felt different and was clearly carrying around so much pain. She was also very behind at school due to learning difficulties. I felt so alone, I felt broken and despair came over me often, I couldn’t see a way out. It felt like I was living in an in-between world, left what we know in South Africa for a better life but we just encountered more problems. I had days when I would drown my sorrows in wine and was smoking, mostly because I did not know how else to cope with what was going on in my life.

I never went out alone with friends as my daughter needed me and it cost a lot of money for babysitters and money was a problem as I was alone again. I was not going to give up as I knew there was a bigger purpose for me, for us. I made it work, I had to for her. I got a new job and relocated again to Surrey. Another move, new places, hoping to meet people and friends or similar moms in my situation as all this time I was pretty much on my own. I think at this point I was longing for someone to reach out to for help, someone who understood and could say to me it will be ok. Just when I thought, “A new start for us in Surrey”, more challenges were waiting…(Official Diagnosis 2013) Living in Surrey became challenging. I was the breaking point. So I went to the GP, and after a lengthy process she was formally diagnosed with ADHD, Anxiety Disorder, ODD and general learning disability. She had to take medication to help her focus at school. I knew the journey would be tough with her diagnosis but I made a choice, we would make it.

(Choices made 2016)

I was able to start working part time at my previous job and be home for her in the afternoons to give her some stability and work through her stress and anxiety. This was a stressful time as the job was demanding and I was coming home to a stressful house with no support. The years of strain took its toll, I was drinking excessive amounts of wine, some days 2 bottles a day on my own, and smoking and sitting on the couch for relaxation. As time went by I found myself just surviving one day to the next and eating, drinking and smoking was helping me survive. I put on so much weight and was very unhealthy. I didn’t care about myself as my focus was all for my daughter. I was unhappy, depressed, stressed, lonely, and unhealthy, fed up, anxious, some days I felt like giving up and wanted to quit life.

time to focus on what’s important in my daughter’s and my life, time to plan, time to wash the dishes, time to sit and talk to her and hear what she has to say. Time to support her at school, to help her with her homework, just time to be a family again. I am forever grateful for the realisation that I needed to change, to focus on what was right for us as a family despite knowing I wouldn’t have as much money or freedom we would hopefully be happy. I was able to recognize the demons in my life that were holding me back and stopping me from achieving more, so I have stopped smoking all forms of nicotine, I rarely drink now, I have changed my exercise to really push me, I’m focussing on the things I want to do with my life

However I couldn’t quit, I could not give up, something kept me going, I had to be strong, I had to be there for my daughter, I could not let the pressures of life get to me. I had to make some drastic changes, so I made a choice….

I stopped smoking, stopped drinking wine, joined a fit camp, hired a personal trainer to help me and stopped consuming junk food. This was the start of my journey, I managed to lose 6.7% body fat, 13lbs and become fitter and stronger. I was focused on being healthier and being a good role model for my daughter because I lost myself and everything else.

for a change it’s not just about being a single mum, it’s about me again but in a way that gives us both a better life.

I signed up for a Personal Training course and thought of possibly leaving my stressful job so I could be there for my daughter full time as a Carer, and support her and help her achieve her dreams, and also be able to live out my dreams and passions as I would then have the time.

I have learnt from all of this that if I want to be an inspiration to others I need to live an inspired life daily. I have also come to a realization that there’s no reason why we need to go through the turmoil I did. I realise I created a lot of this and just needed to get out of my own way. I can now be a living example and inspiration that despite what life throws at you, you can always make the best of it.

Life changing moments (2017)

(What does the future hold ……)

I have had many life changing moments as many of us have, but these were big.

Now the future is me living life each day to the fullest, dedicating my life to my daughter, following my dreams, desires and passion. Inspiring and supporting others to transform their lives and create the life they want.

It did it, I was able to leave my job and become a fulltime mom and carer for my daughter. I now had the time to go to the gym every morning,

Do you struggle with aches and pains? Would you like to reduce your stress levels? Do you feel stuck, overwhelmed and confused about your direction? Well, you are not alone… • • •

77 percent of people experience stress that affects their physical health 48 percent of people have trouble sleeping because of stress 73 percent of people have stress that impacts their mental health

Often, you're are unable to see why you are so stressed and/or in pain, or it all just feels too much and you can end up holding yourself back from a happy and healthy lifestyle because of lack of knowledge, time or money. These blocks can lead to us procrastinating, being self-critical, feeling overwhelmed, lacking self-worth and continuing to be in pain both physically and mentally. Essentially getting in the way of your own healing. Stress and pain can permeate all areas of our lives, from relationships, health, business and social. But luckily, you don't have to stay in that state! Jane's here to tell us that healing doesn't have to cost the earth or take a huge amount of time! Jane uses massage, healing and holistic therapies with her 121 clients, and has created a supportive, and safe environment that allows clients the space to open up, heal and transform their stress and pain into balance and harmony. She boasts more than 15 years of experience within the health and wellness industry, with over 7 years training in holistic therapies. Jane runs face to face and online sessions, which are based at her studios in Thornton Heath and Southbourne, and globally via online platforms (see links below).

Jane always uses tried and tested methods (such as emotional freedom technique, homeopathy, coaching, healing and massage) with personal support and accountability to alleviate the stress and pain in her clients. Every modality that is used within her practice has helped her with her own physical, mental and emotional health. With Jane, you know you are not alone, she will help you to heal and move forward with ease, and grace into a life of balance and harmony. Get Out of Pain and DeStress Memberships start from just £25 a month

Why wait, book your Free Get Out of Pain & DeStress Session today and see how Jane can help you

Wellbeing Matters Wellbeing matters to us all at the SMBN., Something we all have in common is that we do not wallow in self pity, there are challenges but there is also a lot of gratitude, fighting spirit, sisterhood and constructive troubleshooting. Some of us recently met for a photoshoot in the stunning Wye Valley, and it was a great

opportunity for us to not only to catch up with each other, but to hear from the children too what matters to them! The SMBN exists not only to address the challenges of today, and to offer some support with business PR, it exists to create an alumni, where our children will always be at the centre of what we set out to achieve and support them with in the future. Their voices matter, their mental health matters, and we know that we have happy and healthy children who benefit from our ability to have healthy relationships with each other whilst demonstrating a strong work ethic and determination not to tolerate what is makes it so challenging, to leave them to suffer the same fate. No person should be forced to remain in a relationship because they ‘need’ to. Love is love, not currency.

Confidence networking

is so important when embarking on a business journey, and

can really help with this, from peer support to advice and ideas. The

seasoned business person will always want to help you on your way. We all benefit when a) the economy is working and b) people are happier, and those of us who understand that enjoy nothing more than helping others not only survive, but thrive. I met a single mum last year who was a qualified carpenter, but because she lacked the confidence and support she was at a job fair signing up to work in an industry that only offered low pay, because they boasted flexibility. If she had the confidence to push through as a carpenter, she would easily be earning £500 per week, able to manage her own caring responsibilities, and not in a situation where she needed benefits to top up her

had she had the proper support in years one to three, this would have saved 15 years of housing benefit, council tax discount, and other income support. low income,

Equally working as a cleaner, on a self-employed basis, with the proper support, information and advice in year one, would enable you to invest in your business and generate such an income, and build a team, so that you could not only survive but thrive whilst you have dependents, rather than struggle because you lack the knowledge or confidence. This is what the minimum income floor is designed to do, help you invest time and money in your business so that you need short term support instead of long term support, and we can all enjoy a healthier economy. Make the most of your meeting with your work coach. I like to call them accountability partners, and there is no harm in talking through things and analysing what steps you are taking when you are on route to earning a fulltime income from your business to help you ultimately escape the benefits trap and live a life that enables you to be the best version of yourself. Once you are recognised as gainfully self-employed you can concentrate on business full-time and just attend quarterly meetings until you have reached your target MIF at which stage you should be able to live independently again with the same autonomy as an employed person working the same hours and drawing the same income. But crucially 1 year is a very short time to grow a business, and you do need to religiously book clients / attend meetings / work on admin to ensure that you are utilising every hour and penny that is saving you from long-term minimum wage.

I work for Coronation Wealth Management as the Office Manager. I’m a newly qualified Financial Adviser just waiting for my FCA authorisation. We are a financial advice company based in Bristol specialising in pensions, investments, protection, tax and retirement

financial decisions. I’m at the beginning of my networking journey and have joined SMBN to meet and get inspiration from other single mums. I am solo parent to a 3 year old hooligan called Elfie who is the light of my life!

planning. I’m happy to offer a no obligation chat if you want to get in touch. I’ve recently been helping other Mums with pension planning specifically for those who are self-employed. I’ve also been having a lot of discussions around ethical investing and how this can be incorporated into our 0117 325 9025 | 07872 315 975 Unit 3 Stableblock Courtyard, Leigh Court Business Centre, Pill Road, Abbots Leigh, Bristol, BS8 3RA

Member Anne-Marie Jones has branched out! Check out her new businesses below!

Have you ever wondered what a Virtual

Assistant is? What they do? When I first started out, I used to bid for work on one of the freelancer sites. I came across a request for support. They wanted someone who could proofread and reformat a document that is standard within the education sector. As an ex-teacher, I knew this document well. It was a scheme of work. So, I contacted the prospective client. I explained my background and how I could help. I found out that the reason they wanted a VA was because they were working on a large contract and had multiple different aspects to do. Standardising the text and format as well proofreading was time-consuming and something they knew could be done by someone else, allowing them to focus on a different aspect of the contract and business. When you look down the Kaleidoscope for a business it is made up many moving parts; finance, marketing, HR, business development, operational management, quality and compliance, and IT to name a few. Trying to wear all those hats is difficult. More often than not, as small business owners we are working on delivery to our customers (working in the business). This leaves very little time on working on our business and growing it (being the CEO). Liaising with clients and suppliers via email, diary management, social media support can all be time-consuming. Outsourcing it to someone enables business growth, without employees. Yes, MJM Virtual Solutions can do all the general admin for your business. But how am I different to other VAs? I specialise in data protection. I have been working within the field of quality management and data protection for 5 years, gaining a qualification as a Data Protection Officer. As a certified Data Protection Officer, I set up Be Data Savvy to support businesses to be more data protection compliant. If you are struggling with data protection, why not give me a call.

‘sic utere tuo ut alienum non laedas’ Literally translated you could argue that this relates to property matters, but, for me it means that we should not cause others harm in order to gain what we want, we must live and work with clean hands, be ethical and help each other, and we must not extinguish another persons light to make ours shine brighter. In the next few pages you will hear from other single parent organisations who are either members, friends, or who participated in the #singleparentday event earlier this year. As I, and many more, have been ignored for years by the organisations that are publicly and privately funded to help us, I wanted to do better, I wanted to focus on the outcome, rather than the ego or income. I am very proud to help to promote other single parent organisations, networking is a very sad world when operated with a competitive mindset rather than an purposeful and abundance mindset, there is always enough for everybody, that is the natural law of the land, and so we must operate in trust that if we are doing the right thing, the right way, without greed, we will enjoy the greatest wealth, that cannot be measured by bank balance.


platform for single mothers and their children to enable them to grow independently and better their lives” facilitating prosperity for single mums Noreen Khan is the Director of NEESIE, a community voluntary group transforming lives of single mums and their children daily. She has a strong passion for developing communities and building resilience in all spheres of community life. She is a well-travelled professional and has worked in all areas of cross cultural and transformational development for multinational corporations, businesses, and communities throughout the world. She is a professional compere and public speaker and formally a presenter on Television and Radio.

Her organisation, NEESIE, provides a platform for Single Mothers and their children to grow independently and better their lives. Neesie facilitates prosperity through dedicated support mechanisms in collaboration and partnership with local communities, schools and public and private sector organisations and anchor organisations. Support is provided to a broad spectrum of society and from diverse backgrounds. Noreen has been a catalyst for change, advocating for the Human Rights and freedom of choice for Single Mothers and lone parents on a national and political agenda. A defiant leader and advocate for better Welfare reform changes to Tax credits and Universal credit, she has staunchly worked to bridge the poverty gap and creating an imbroglio situation for Single parents who will find themselves in a constant state of forlorn emotional calamity. NEESIEs’ ultimate aim is to build capacity among single mothers to ensure their full and active participation in society. This is done through Reassurance of understandings and empathy of situations; Development through tailored interventions; and Progress within society, moving towards engagement and social integration and develop a strong foundation that encourages resilient communities. Noreen is committed to developing the plight of single mums and reaches across many boundaries, hence has developed an international presence across four continents through collaboration and partnership working. Noreen Khan


Ruth Talbot Founder Single Parent Rights Campaign It's been over seven years since I became a single mum. Like many, the road has been a rocky one with plenty of ups and downs but one thing I’ve noticed from my own experiences, and that of single parents around me, is that we are often invisible and, worse still, actively discriminated against across almost all areas of life. From the attitudes of landlords and employers, to the fees charged at many attractions across the UK. Nothing highlighted this more than when the pandemic first hit Britain with full force back in March 2020. While everyone was affected by the school closures and social isolation that the first lockdown ushered in. It was quickly evident that single parents had been entirely forgotten about. From how would we do the weekly shop, to how on earth can you home school and work effectively, with no childcare or outside support? Spoiler: You can't. Having spent many years writing about single parenting and trying to raise understanding of the reality of single parenting – the good, the bad and the ugly – I knew I had to go one step further and push for real policy change. During that first lockdown, I hand delivered a letter to Dominic Cummings house, the then adviser to the Prime Minister, outlining what it was really like for single parents in lockdown. Fast forward a couple of weeks and my lobbying, together with the work of other groups, to secure support bubbles for single parent households. For me, this was just the beginning. The real issue is that single parents are not included in the Equality Act, and this is why we are so often ignored by policy makers. So, I set up Single Parent Rights to try and address this. Single Parent Rights is a single parent led campaign group fighting for single parents to be added to the Equality Act alongside those who are married and in civil partnerships. If you want to learn more or get involved in the campaign you can visit our website at, or follow us on Twitter and Instagram. -Ruth Talbot Founder Single Parent Rights Campaign Follow us on twitter @SglParentRights Follow us on Instagram: @SingleParentRights

I am Nicola Booth, a 34 year old single and one for our first charity shop in mum raising a 10 year old girl. Barnsley. Our aim is to support single I created Single Parents Support and parents to gain access to services Advice Services (running under a which normally have long waiting lists different name at that time) in or costs involved so they are unable to October 2012 when I became a single access them, for example counselling. mother, sat at home on an evening This now includes emergency food thinking there must be other single parcels and energy top ups. We also parents in this situation, so a local Run surplus food projects all over the Facebook page was made and gone UK to help beat food waste and feed from strength to strength over this our families in need. time to a now fully registered charity! We are proud to say that we are ALL volunteers in SPSAS, even me! All our SPSAS is a charity for single parents all services are FREE and we run on over the UK. We aim to combat grants and donations. isolation and loneliness through uniting as a community. We have two main Facebook groups and sub groups to help members with mental health support, domestic abuse support, parents with children with additional needs and more! We also have Facebook pages, one for the organisation, one for free legal support, one for emotional support

I work tirelessly to help Single Mums in Business in the UK gain business exposure whilst encouraging the flexible working movement, dispelling misconceptions and reducing stigma. I have enjoyed speaking to Piers Linney when exhibited to promote members at the NEC and The Lord Young of Graffham at the House of Lords as a SmallBiz100 in 2019. I gave them the last SMBN brochures (no was not an option!) and explained that we need help with business exposure as we are trying to make work work as mums. We are easy targets for low pay, bank staff, or working for free. We are losing pensions, (since covered by ITV News thank you) job security, comradeship, and we love working! During the six years that I was trying to build my company I could not access the help I needed. Exhibiting was unaffordable, banks turned me away due to poor credit, TV was out of reach, advertising was expensive, and the jobs that fitted my skillset and salary insisted full-time or nothing. I will now help others so that they do not suffer as I have. Motherhood should not be a financial penalty. When I first wrote to the Prime Minister in 2015 I explained these challenges, I had a response from the Prime Minister’s office to advise that my letter had been passed to the DWP. The DWP responded that they were introducing Universal Credit, that would make work work for single parents. I realised that they really didn’t understand the problem. I didn’t want to go onto UC, I wanted to continue my career. Thank you to Purple Shoots Lending and Frederick’s Foundation for believing in me when the banks punished me for adversity and had zero faith in my journey ahead, destined for destitution!

It has always been important to me to make it clear that the SMBN is not about misandry, it’s simply old school boy school girl school mentality—we need to focus! I signpost to male only networks and organisations, as you will see on the next few pages, and I share with you here a blog post from February, which will hopefully shed some light on my personal view which I hope will help some men. Masculinity, Equality, Mental Health and Purpose for the 21st Century Man | Julie Hawkins

This blog has been eating away at me for some time, as they always do. I am signposted before I blog and fed material that only pushes me to offer my perspective. A year or two ago I had a conversation with a friend, who said that they just didn’t know what was expected of them anymore, as a man, where all they hear about is equality which is often translated as misandry. I have the benefit of a strong female network, some identify strongly as feminists, others find the term offensive, and I have previously blogged about women supporting women, asking what about the men. It is now time to elaborate on that blog, and hopefully, whilst undoubtably upsetting some, offering others some much needed insight into what many women, hope, men will show up as in the 21st Century. Firstly, I am all for equality, but I also love feminine and masculine energy, and how we differ physically and mentally in many ways. Equality is just (for me) about not being at a disadvantage, especially financially, because of your sex, or being more vulnerable because of it, just as with race, nationality, age, religion or disability. I am also passionate about women supporting women, but not because of misandry, because I believe it is our inherent tribal nature, to be more of a community and to have healthy relationships and support with those who

are similar to us and understand our unique challenges. Men have had healthy support networks for many years, via work, social, sport, and networks that used to be male only such as the Masons. I see a lot of displeasure from men at the mention of female only business networking, and I suspect this is a little down to ego. I never witnessed such displeasure around the WI (Women’s Institute) whereby the (old) public perception was baking and fundraising, or around book clubs or knit and natter clubs, but when business networking started rolling out female only network it was offensive to many men, who feel business is their world. The focus is what women have in common, and meeting with like minded people whilst maintaining a safe space to talk about female things, sometimes. The networks I attend are very professional but if we need to talk about menstruation, ovulation, menopause, pregnancy, or indeed disadvantages such as reduced pensions or challenges as normally predominantly primary carers it is a relaxed environment to do that.. There is a lot of room for equality and we can close some of those differences, but we will always have (I hope) femininity and masculinity. I fear that with feeling misplaced many men will suffer with mental health problems due to feeling lost or unfulfilled if they feel they have lost their place in the world as providers and protectors.. but I want to make clear how I think we need men to step up as men in

the 21st century, and I will attempt to do that with simple clarity and examples.. I have a few men in my network, and I refer to a few famous faces who seem to have a very healthy balance and view of masculinity, purpose, equality, femininity and so their minds appear to be strong, and they are role models for men who are lost. Let’s look at Michael Ray, Paul O’Grady, Marcus Rashford, Professor Green and I have a couple of incredible men in my network who I know will read this who are working incredibly hard at the moment to create something for the greater good, you should know who you are.. If you are not already familiar with Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, please embark on your own further study. A lot of work that I do is to try and ensure that people’s basic needs are met, as I know that we have limited ability to help others when we lack security and safety. Normally once our basic needs are met we can progress to form healthy relationships with others and hopefully at this stage, feel inspired to help others and increase our sense of purpose. Many people lack motivation to do this once their basic and psychological needs are met they leave others in the purple and green zones therefore never reaching the orange zone! How is this relevant to masculinity, mental health and purpose for men who only hear about equality and women supporting women? let me explain.. Due to lack of equality, many women have been and still are vulnerable to not having their basic needs met. That is why many women support women. These basic needs could easily be met, and at the moment it is mainly men who have the power to do this, at the top, by addressing the hardships that mainly come as a result of child bearing.

Whether by being a stay-at-home wife and losing pension or by barriers to work in line with their skillset and salary due to challenges with childcare. We have amazing feminine bodies and we really do need to procreate, at least most of us do. This bit men can’t do, and I’m not sure they would if they experienced childbirth equivalent to 47 bone fractures and their skeletal structure being torn apart leaving 20 or 30 years of muscle definition ruined in a flash! So, we need to work on accepting that women need to survive despite facilitating life. C19 has given many male CEO’s unique insight into how you can love your family but still crave the workplace, we all enjoy that, and need that; we need people.

So what about the men?!

Many men are noble and kind, and they support themselves and their families Continued overpage

Look at war heroes, look at historic regulators, these men knew something was wrong, and they went above and beyond, not to only line their own pockets but to fight for the vulnerable, to fight for families who were overpaying taxes, to fight to protect the nations women, children, and men who could not fight for themselves, these men had purpose, fulfilment. We now have a safer war to fight, there is little risk to body and mind, only risk of upsetting peers. We need men to fight for our safety, we need men to fight against misogyny, rape, trafficking, out of balance inflation, racism, homophobia, ageism, child abuse, domestic abuse, discrimination, homelessness, all things that should not be happening in the 21st Century. I see so many posts and articles across my social media channels and in the press about women fighting against these issues, setting up charities, campaigning, supporting each other, but it is less frequent to see men helping us fight this war. We have a Government, we never argue that we pay tax on everything, from birth to death, but we still bear heavy judgement and shame if we need that tax, and are often left destitute whilst out tax pays for lavish lifestyles and lunches. There is a war, but too few soldiers.

I friend once said to me ‘I don’t know what a woman wants me to be – If I open a car door or offer to pay for a meal I am afraid I offend, and if I don’t I go against the chivalry I understood to be right’ – my only advice was not to be who he thought he should be, but to be his true self and transparent about that so that the right woman would go to him. Personally I love chivalry and door opening, but if we sit at a desk working together all day I want the same pay cheque, and if we bring up a family as

a team, I want the same pension, and same estate, and if I am to bring up a family alone, as 1 in 4 families do now, I want barriers to home, work and opportunities removed, so that we are not the ones who suffer when society permits a parent to abandon a child, financially. So how do you fight a war when you have not been enlisted? Where do you start? Let’s look at it on a smaller scale – if you can help only six people, the world would be a better place overnight! Your children would be safer, happier, and not destitute on their death bed. I mentioned earlier Michael Ray, Paul O’Grady, Marcus Rashford and Professor Green. These men are all doing something to help others, or to help those more vulnerable. Michael fights for equality, for Dads, for his daughter, he optimises masculinity but he is not afraid to call out other men or women, he is making a difference, he therefore has purpose, self-actualisation and good mental health. He could easily just focus on his partner and his daughter but he does more than that, he is a warrior and unafraid to show his love for his family whilst promoting equality inside and outside of the home. Then we have Paul O’Grady who – despite being a well paid celebrity, has a genuine passion for helping others – in his case, dogs (and cats) at Battersea, – here is a man who some would question his masculinity, but he is using his strength to help those who are vulnerable, what can be more masculine than that? and then we have Marcus Rashford – if you don’t know what he has been up to you must be living in a cage – a very wealthy and successful football player, who used his platform to stand up for families across the UK, .

he put vulnerable people above his own need to be popular, and despite the hammering from some of his capitalist testosterone fuelled football network has used his fame for good, despite the stigma, he has seen wrong and he is fighting a war that should not exist. and lastly I make reference to Professor Green aka Stephen Manderson, who talks openly about mental health and supports so many others, he could easily hide behind his music and tattoos but he has purpose, he did not lose motivation when he and his were okay, he identified his place as a man in this world and is helping to heal the wounded from this psychological war. But you do not have to be rich or famous to make a difference and be a man in the 21st century. I guarantee that at least half a dozen people within your reach need your help. I read articles of men who set-up football clubs for disadvantage children and men who set up carpentry sheds for the lonely and elderly, these men have little resource or time, but they reach out and help who is within their reach, those who need them, those who cannot fight their own war. My biggest heartbreak is seeing how little is done to protect women and children in this Country. How many men stand by and turn a blind eye to rape, abuse, trafficking. hunger, poverty and abuse towards minority groups. Men who are not motivated because they are not struggling or directly affected, and they wonder what their purpose is because they take offence at the mention of equality. From where I am standing, we need men more than ever to show that they are the protectors,

and not the perpetrators. There is no in-between, you are either okay with it, or you are not. Some tribes banish men who lay with a woman against her will, they say it is not ‘their way’ – it should not be anybody’s way. We have laws in this country but we do not have enforcement. We do not have men banishing each other or setting a strong example of what is right or wrong, we have unregulated violent porn and ungoverned increase of property prices, ungoverned capitalism and ungoverned presenteeism and discrimination. We live in a Country, where you should feel safe to walk the street at night, where you should not be vulnerable because of your age, sex, race, sexuality or religion, we live in a Country where our basic needs should be not be a lifetime of struggle to achieve, and we live in a Country where I hear all too often, that men do not know where they stand. So let me say, you may not know where you stand but stand you must. Do not be the perpetrator, the bully; be the protector. We can celebrate masculinity and femininity and support equality, where there is fear of safety, there will be fear of equality. We need community we can trust, men we can trust, men we know will be educated not to cause pain, we need Governance from the top to make sure that these crimes will not be tolerated in our society. I am a strong and independent woman, but this is a call to action for modern masculinity, and clarity of purpose to stand up and use that testosterone for good. We can all help somebody. There is no time to be lost. We do need you. Our children need you to say enough.

Dads Unlimited (DU), a registered charity, supports dads with their mental health because of family breakdown, and to help them reduce parental-conflict with former partners in order to improve their co-parenting relationships. The issues they are regularly presented with are anxiety, depression, PTSD, domestic abuse, loss of contact with their children, loneliness, isolation, self-harm and tragically suicidal ideation. DU is run by a group of people (trustees and staff) who have lived-experience of the issues involved and have succeeded in dealing with them; and was established from a growing awareness of a significant number of men who are desperate for information and support after relationship breakdown and enforced separation from their children, but finding little or none out there. Desperation is not too strong a word for the plight of these men; the stress of their situation can, over time, affect their mental health to the point of suicidal thoughts and, in some cases, to suicide itself. We provide wrap-around unlimited support on all of these issues by putting in early interventions to reduce parental conflict so as to improve co-parenting through our trauma-informed services of 1:1 Mentoring, Mental Health counselling, Male Victims IDVA service, Support Group Meetings, Family Court Support / Barrister Representation Service, Co-Parenting workshops, and plenty of community activities for dads to enjoy with or without their children. We work hard to focus on making sure the voice of the child is at the heart of the family breakdown process, whilst simultaneously working to reduce male-suicide, help male victims of domestic abuse, and reduce parental

conflict post-separation to improve outcomes for their children. The impact of family breakdown, on mothers, fathers, children, and on society, is immensely damaging all round. Much has been written about the impact of family breakdown on children, especially in relation to absent fathers. Much has been written about the impact on mothers bringing up children on their own. Much less has been written about the impact on fathers, especially where they have been denied regular and meaningful access to their children. Our vision is that children from separated families have an equal opportunity through a positive and nurturing co-parenting environment.

About Nav who founded Dads Unlimited In 2013 I began my journey into a world which, and I didn’t know it at the time, would transform the rest of my life. I was a Single Dad who saw his son one night in the week and most weekends. Things changed for me a lot, not only was I so used to being in a partnership, but as that had ended – I had to try and find out who I was again. However sadly, due to some inexplicable and aberrant reasons which were very difficult to deal with, in 2015 my son came to live with me full time. From being a part time Dad – I was now a full-time one. I gave up work and began my new journey into a world I hadn’t really properly experienced until now.

Before, my life consisted of conference calls,

necessity. We are not anti-women or anti-

meetings, meetings about meetings, getting up early, coming home late, analysing budgets, articulating strategy, tactical negotiations, giving speeches, travel, holding to account, leading teams, holding 1:1’s, shaping visions and values, building organisations, developing policies and processes, operational delivery, working on difficult legal issues and cases, building bridges with communities, and anything else corporate life had to throw at

mothers. We are only Pro-Dad. Absolutely crucial to this, and what you also may not know is that according to the Office of National Statistics – the number of men who are now Primary Carers for their children has risen by almost 137% in 3 years from 2013. In fact, that number is now 406,000 Single Dads,

me. Now it’s all about school runs, cleaning, homework, ironing, washing, sports days, school plays, food shopping, budgeting, entertaining in the holidays, cooking, exercising, learning maths and English again, reading, negotiating, teaching, chauffeuring, answering endless questions and organising play dates. To be honest the list is pretty endless – just when you think you’ve mastered something – along comes something else and the whole thing starts again. I’ve never been so tired. But that’s not always how it was. When I started down this path – I looked everywhere for advice, for help and for support – or for just someone saying I was doing alright. But I didn’t find anything or anyone. And especially not another Dad in my exact position. So I literally made things up as I went along, or asked a few Mums who I knew would help me out. But I really wanted to meet someone else who would help and understand. There were good days and bad, but as I was told – just try to be ‘good enough’. And because I couldn’t find anything – that’s how Dads Unlimited was born. Out of

which represents 14% of the Single Parent population. With this rapid rise and if this pace continues, we will have parity between the sexes in less than 30 years. There is currently a vacuum, with no one trying to appropriately fill it.

But now there is. Dads Unlimited. ‘Because as Dads – we are growing the Women and Men of the future – and we’re doing it well, but we could do it better.’ It’s the best job I’ve ever had – one that never thanks you – but always rewards you.

I first connected with Michael on LinkedIn in 2019, and realised that he faced challenges as a single dad that I could not even imagine as a mother, he talked about not being able to be the parent in the room for his daughter’s ballet performance, and how that made him, and Charlie feel. I completely understood where he was coming from, and so interviewed him to discuss the different challenges faced by mothers and fathers, and where sexism hinders equality for both sexes. You can watch the interview on the SMBN website. Michael is in Australia but his message and education is universal, and I feel very proud to know him with all that he continues to achieve, and the permanent mark he is making for his daughter. He has written a book, information below, and I would encourage you to visit his website and read his blogs, especially if you are feeling pretty hard done by as a father. He is a true voice of reason, a gamechanger, and no doubt his daughter will be forever proud. Michael will come to the UK as a speaker if we can ensure it pays for him and his family to visit us. Contact him if you are interested.

Michael Ray is an Australian solo dad, a speaker, advocate and a published author with his book "Who Knew?" "Who Knew?" explores global issues around parenting past and present and discusses how we must change our ideologies instead of conforming to the status quo. He talks through his own experiences as a solo dad and how he has had to constantly challenge old values and misconceptions that are still accepted in today's societies. Order "Who Knew?" from or; Amazon - Booktopia-

Friend of the SMBN & Media Foundations Fiona Scott, of SCOTT MEDIA I have been networking for several years – and it is my networking journey that inspired and continues to inspire the SMBN, from not being able to attend 7am meetings, from joining networks who focussed on me promoting them and not vice versa, to not affording professional PR guru’s like Fiona. I connected with Fiona in the early days of KIH Products, but I just couldn’t afford her professional skills, and so that is why I try and help my ladies in this way. We all need PR for sales. As soon as I turned a corner with KIH Bed sales and decided to help other single mums I didn’t even have to think about where to go – I went straight to Fiona, who I had observed for years. She worked with me in the first year, she was always very clear about how she would get our name out there, what my realistic expectations should be, time scales, and she taught me a lot about what I needed to do. I valued her expertise and respected her fees, and she was right. We now have a great relationship with the press, I am often contacted by radio and mainstream national press, I am often contacted directly and I post in our closed members group asking members to submit their stories. The SMBN is the go to for single parent stories and PR, and that is because Fiona worked hard to help me get on their radar in the beginning. In the last 12 months not only have we been in national press, we have also featured on BBC Radio in several counties, on ITV news, BBC news, Channel 5, and more.. and that is snowballing. I was delighted when Fiona decided later to join as a friend of the SMBN. For somebody who I have admired for so long to then demonstrate that they have enough faith in what I am doing to join as a friend – well, actions speak louder than words don’t they! – you can join as a friend by the way – regardless of sex or status, essentially friends are not in the closed member group (single mum chat) but they do enjoy year round exposure in the mags, which is the cheapest in print exposure going – like this one. You are very lucky now! Things have moved on from when I started out! You have mediums like me helping you with exposure and you have so many affordable offerings such as Fiona’s PR Retreat in 2022 (I may just see you at this one!) You have to choose business expenditure over wine expenditure, and you have to respect those who work so hard to help you on your journey. You can visit Fiona’s main website here: and trust me when I say she knows her profession So with gratitude, love, and hopefully some sound advice! Jules x

Meet Lucinda Dore SBMN Legal Columnist Hello! I am delighted to be asked to be a columnist for the SBMN. The SMBN has always been very close to my heart, and I am always here to offer help to members when needed so it was a no brainer when the lovely Julie Hawkins asked me if I would help her members with those niggly legal questions. So here’s my plan email us your legal questions and I’ll do my very best to answer them for you with my legal brain – I’ve been a solicitor for 20 years now so I have pretty much seen and heard it all so don’t worry about the question – if it’s on your mind, it’s bound to be on others and its ok, you can stay anonymous – after all, no one wants their laundry washed in public and I’ll never judge. So, if I’m asking you to reveal your legal issues it’s only fair that I let you know a little about me. I am predominantly a Private Criminal, Regulatory Law and Benefits Law Solicitor. I run my own law firm Lucinda Dore Solicitors. I am based by the sea in Brighton but as most of my clients see me virtually, I can assist anyone around the country – I find that my clients love that they can now seek specialist legal advice from the comfort of their sofa at a time to suit them (mostly in the evenings after work or the children have gone to bed) with a cup in tea in hand – this saves the travel to my office and anxious wait in the reception. I can assist anyone who finds themselves on the wrong side of the law or needs help with a Benefit issue whether that be a compliance, investigation, or appeal matter. Most of my clients are the those who never thought they

would ever need a solicitor, let alone a criminal one, first time (and usually last) offenders who need me to listen, to be non-judgemental and most of all to help them get through the difficult time to help them move on with their lives. I know how hard it can be for people to pick up the phone to speak to a solicitor, but my clients always feel like a weight has been lifted off their shoulders when they pass their problem over to me. When it comes to work, I am serious, I’m focussed, I start early – finish late. I work hard, I prepare hard, I listen, I help, I advocate, and I always strive to win. I do everything I can to help my clients out of the difficult situation. Outside of work is a very different story. I am just like the other mums out there. I find myself running around the house like a headless chicken… I’ll crawl along with my toddler on the floor making animal noises and kick a football in the garden whilst singing ‘Bob the Builder’, I’m told off by my primary school age wannabe teenager for singing too loudly to the radio on the school run whilst she’s trying to recite her spellings… I’ll forget the PE kit, run into the back of the hall for the recorder concert, run out of time to cook dinner and we’ll be late for swimming lessons so let’s just say…. I get it….. I’m By Your Side and here to help”

I’m Claire Harris founder of Pets 2 Places, the worlds first pet taxi franchise. Pets 2 Places is so much more than just a taxi service though. It’s a multi award winning company with heart, ethos and passion. Pets 2 Places was founded in 2014, as a service that takes customers with their pets to the vets. It quickly grew into taking owners anywhere they needed to go with their pets, including groomers, kennels, over to see their friends, even on holiday and for divorced couple’s sharing custody of their dog/s. Pets 2 Places isn’t just about the service though, I’ve become the country’s leading expert on pet transport, I’ve created an awareness day to highlight the importance of transporting pets correctly. Pet Travel Safety Day is now an annual awareness day on 1st July. Alongside this awareness day I aim to educate all dog owners and other pet professionals about transporting pets with the creation of a dog transport course. I’m also looking to undertake some research and development into accidents involving dogs, to create my own range of crash tested equipment. I love what I do and I have built a great business around my family commitments. I am offering franchise opportunities across the UK, this is a comprehensive package with tailored help and support. No two customers are the same so no two franchisees are the same. I can help franchisees not just with training on day to day running of the service and the high level of customers service we offer, but also marketing and publicity for their business, gaining them free advertising.

I can’t wait to build my team and help other people to love what they do. Pop on over to our social media to see how much our customers truly value the service and what I do. I can’t think of a better role than being with animals all day and called an angel and a god send all day. Its truly an honour to be able to help people with their pets. Franchisees need to be animal lovers and be good with people, that’s it, no need to have any business knowledge, no marketing background. I can teach people all of those things, what I cant teach is how to be a good person in their core. If you really want to help people, I want to hear from you

Founder of Pet Travel Safety Day on July 1st #pettravelsafetyday

And since we wrote the last article on the left, Claire has already set up her first successful franchisee! Solihull is the first place to have a Pets 2 Places pet taxi service franchise. Nicola Hughes has come from a background of childminding and swim kids instructor, and with her own menagerie of animals at home, a pet taxi is the perfect opportunity.

I would get there, but the vets gave me the number for Pets 2 Places, it was so easy to book and Nic was really nice, even carried the cat to the car for me. Sadly my cat didn’t make it but having Nic to help me, just made it a bit less stressful’

If you need a pet taxi in Solihull or the surrounding areas, give Nic a call on 07549007268 or pop over to our . Nic who turned 50 last year was really excited to website start the service in her own area. She said ‘I love animals and I’m great with people, with my background I have a lot of experience with working with all sorts of people so this seemed the ideal opportunity for me.’

Nicola joined Claire as a franchisee in January and within one month had earned back 20% of her franchise fee! And she’s on course to earn back the full fee in seven months!

Already a success after only a few weeks, Nic has found her customers come in all shapes and sizes. ‘One lady I have helped is housebound so I take just the dogs to the vets, when the vet gave medication in a tiny syringe, the owner said she wouldn’t be able to do this as she has arthritis and can’t manage the syringe, it’s ok though I’m happy to help give the medication every day, whatever we can do to help our customers we do. It isn’t really going above and beyond it’s just being a good kind person’ Whether it’s vets, groomers, kennels, over to visit friends or even on holiday; Pets 2 Places Solihull is on hand to help owners with their pets where ever they need to go.

Message from SMBN: We congratulate Claire on her franchise success and are ‘I think I’ve finally found my dream job, its a proud to support her business and her pleasure to be able to help people with their pets, franchisees with maximum PR support. and the customers are so grateful, its really nice to hear how much of a difference I’m making in their life just by offering a small amount of help’ One customer said ‘I needed to get my cat to the vets in an emergency, she hasn’t been eating or drinking for almost 24 hours, I was so worried how

Website: Facebook: @petsplacesmilton Keynes. @pets2placesfranchiseopportunites Email: Phone: 07548926220

Intro to me As well as spending the past 10 years slowly building* the off grid eco-retreat venue that I call home, *literally building- with my own hands and those of my many helpers), I’ve worked for 20 years in a few roles within health and wellness, (including a few years where that took a back seat, and though I still did massage, I fitted it in at, or worked it around, the events and festivals which became my “day job”. But for even longer I’ve been a mum to two (now grown up) girls. I had my kids young so never really knew adult life without them. Although they are now adults that hasn’t meant the problems and challenges have stopped. In fact for a few difficult years they seemed to get bigger than ever before and I longed to return to those hazy childhood days. I have always considered parenthood as the most important, and by far the hardest, job I have done. And my work In my wellbeing journey so far I have worked as a massage and body work therapist, a yoga and Pilates teacher, a healthy plant based chef, and a more recently; incorporating elements of all of that, as a health & wellbeing coach. Although I have in the past, worked with many men and still do occasionally, I now find myself mostly focused on mid-life mothers. Particularly lone single mothers or those in abusive relationships, as the challenges we face can are different to those with more support, and I fully empathise and understand these particular challenges. As parents or carers, we often tend to put our own needs last. With the best intentions, life often gets in the way, we are well trained in putting others needs first.

We need to learn to put our own wellbeing at the top of our To-Do lists. Because what happens if you don’t? I help exhausted, overwhelmed parents find the time for selfcare, to fit in fitness, sleep better & eat better, because I learnt the hard way, what happens if you don’t.

12 years ago, I didn’t know the physical dangers of chronic stress. I had survived all the s*i* life had thrown at me, as well as all the self-inflicted, burning of that proverbial 2 ended candle. I didn’t take proper care of me. Like most folk, I didn’t realise how important it was.

I thought I was indestructible.

The truth was very different. A combination of years of working

crazy hours with little sleep at festivals; combined with first with being a young lone mum, then in an abusive relationship, had left me chronically stressed, & far more physically damaged than I realised. I ignored my body’s cries for rest. If I was tired, I fuelled myself on coffee. I continued to push myself. I had something to prove to the world. Jan 2010. I qualified as a Personal Trainer. The next day I collapsed with severe “burn-out” for me that meant, multiple debilitating allergies, (Including being allergic to my own sweat which made all the skin on my face fall off) and chronic fatigue. I couldn’t work. I could barely get out of bed for 3 months. I spent my sofa months learning how to heal & how to prevent this happening again. I do not want to go back there, and I want to prevent you from ever have to go through the anguish of not having the energy to get out of bed to take care of your kids, to go to work, or even just have a nice time out with friends. My burn out was severe, and took years to recover from. Is it time to value yourself enough to make your health &wellbeing a priority? I love motivating and enabling people to become healthier & happier As well as in person Wellness retreats and glamping breaks here on my magical mountain in

Spain** I also offer a range of services online. Weekly group classes ( Slow Calming Yoga, and Positive Pilates, (pets welcome!) as well as 1to1 sessions, (these are stand alone classes or part of an affordable Wellness membership) I am developing some specialist courses and self care sessions such as Menopause support, Guided Massage and Fascial Release .

**Pre Covid I had planned to run some in the UK too, so fingers crossed that the becomes feasible again soon.

I have always been a huge fan of Ten2Two, but again it took me YEARS to learn of their existence. Women (and men) regularly fall into traps because there isn’t enough knowledge and support signposting them to specialist agencies who help them find SALARIED work for PROFESSIONAL pay. We really must do better, and at the point where we enter into a situation where 9-5 is unmanageable we need to know what is out there to avoid a decade of destitution. Why does this never get airtime? This is news that people need to hear! Ten2Two has been working to change attitudes and approaches to part-time, flexible and remote working for more than 14 years. They work with businesses around the UK to help them understand the benefits of employing a flexible workforce, offering support and services to make flexible working a reality. Ten2two works as a recruiter to source high-calibre professionals for flexible roles across all levels and all sectors in business. They design and implement returner programmes and consult with businesses to help shape future-focussed staffing models. Since their launch in 2007, they have seen the employment landscape shift in favour of more flexible working arrangements and a greater acceptance from employers that even senior, professional jobs can be done successfully on a part-time basis. MD, Deborah O’Sullivan says “when we first launched, we would have to explain to our clients the various types of working formats available and that part-time roles weren’t just for junior positions. Now, especially following the pandemic, our clients come to us asking for all levels of candidates in all sorts of formats from three days per week, five short days remote working or other flexible working formats.” Ten2Two aims to help mothers (and fathers!) achieve a work-life balance by finding rewarding work with local employers working hours that suit life’s other demands such as the school run or nursery schedule. Their slogan says it all – Drop kids off. Have a career. Pick kids up. They are looking forward to expanding their business reach further across the UK in the coming years. Find out more at

Meet Liz! Another amazing woman who has decided enough is enough and is doing something about it! Here’s what Liz says; Do you want to: •

Be available for school pick up and drop off

Watch your toddler’s delight as they pop bubbles at their favourite toddler group

Meet your mum friends on Friday afternoons whilst your kids play, and you drink Prosecco (busted – maybe that’s just me and my friends!)

Take long weekends without eating into your annual leave

I did too, but call me greedy, unrealistic or misinformed - I didn’t feel this should mean I shouldn’t be able to climb the career ladder in a fulfilling job that allowed me to develop my skills and experience. But this is something I have witnessed happen time and time again to so many friends and colleagues. Those that want to work fewer hours after having children often find themselves side-lined, underpaid and undervalued. And I had a feeling it was about to happen to me… Oh sh*t… Last September, at the height of the Covid pandemic, I was made redundant from a job I loved (yep – I was an economic victim of the Covid pandemic). I had worked part-time in the Recruitment team at one of the Big 4, recruiting HR Consultants into their Consulting practice. Now - straight up. here’s what they don’t tell you about looking for a part-time job… I quickly discovered it wasn’t easy to find ‘good quality’ part-time roles. To maintain my family-friendly hours, I would have to take a big step down in my career (and a significant cut in salary, thus making childcare unaffordable). Each time I mentioned part-time with a Recruiter, they quickly told me the role was full-time only, or worse, they ghosted me! I mean – how rude! But my daughters were only little (2 and 3 years old). And I didn’t want to miss all the precious milestones working in a full-time role.

I decided enough was enough... I didn’t want my daughters to grow up in a world where the glass ceiling is still so stubbornly thick. Where if you have other commitments, societal attitudes make it hard for you to achieve your full potential. Never mind the countless studies that have shown that part-time and flexible workers are more productive!

Through my job board, Investing in Women, I am determined to help you find the right job. One that works for you and your family, challenges you (in the best way possible), develops your skills and experience and allows you to continue progressing up the career ladder.

And, I knew there must be some good employers out there - ones who value their staff and the output they bring, whatever hours they work.

I just hadn’t found them yet... New beginnings Full disclosure - I love Recruitment - I love helping people find their dream job as I know how transformative the right opportunity can be. But the Recruitment market I, and so many of my friends, experienced was broken. It was only working for those who could work full-time. Until Investing in Women, in my 12+ years of Recruitment, I had never (not even once) recruited someone for a part-time role. It is hard for those of us who prefer to work parttime or flexibly to find our dream roles as there are so few about. We end up having to apologise or justify why we want part-time. “I want part-time BECAUSE…” And I want to change that.

In June, I launched the Investing in Women job board. We only advertise part-time or flexible roles and champion the positive effects part-time working has on society and the economy. Did you know, for example, that more flexible working could unlock £55bn and create 51,000 jobs? And almost six months in - I can promise you there are some amazingly thoughtful and considerate employers out there. Phew!

Ones that want to recruit and progress talent – just like you, on hours that work for you and your family.

Why? Because you are too talented for your skills to go to waste! Are you ready? Search the Investing in Women job board to find your next flexible or part-time job. And while you are there please consider this your invitation to join my empowering Facebook Group Working Mums UK. This is YOUR group where you can expect to find all the tools, strategies, training and inspiration you need to flourish at all stages of your career. Pull up a chair, get cosy, and meet some new mum friends. Our community is full of like-minded female professionals willing to offer support, advice or a friendly ear. I can’t wait to get to know you better. Lots of love, Liz xxx

As we celebrate members and help to raise awareness of their product or service, we have some serious work to do. The Social Impact Report below was widely distributed since its publication in February this year, but we will continue to share it until it is no longer an issue…

Single Mums Business Network

Social Impact Review 1. 2. 3. 4.

Barriers to Work, Cost to Economy and Solution Barriers to Finance, Cost to Economy and Solution Barriers to Home, Cost to Economy and Solution Stigma, Misconceptions, and Ignorance

1. Barriers to Work, Cost to Economy and Solution Most women, following reproduction, face barriers to work that did not exist prior to becoming a primary carer. Barriers Drawing on my own personal experience I had a strong work ethic from age 14 when I began working part-time, I worked full-time immediately following my GCSE’s for 20 years prior to starting a family age 35. I had full expectation of maintaining a full-time salary albeit with a little flexibility, and being self-sufficient whilst continuing to pay my mortgage which at this point was 10 years and £60K down the line. During maternity leave, when my request for flexible, or pro-rata, slightly reduced hours was declined, due to the full-time hours being required to suit the needs of the business under my job description, along with not wanting to set a precedent for other members of staff who may want to work flexibly, I found myself in a situation where I had to advise I would not be returning to work, simply due to the logistical problem of fitting work and the commute into childcare hours. Whilst some women will have (physical) co-parenting or grandparent support, millions do not, including those in marriage. I was not too concerned initially as I had several qualifications and a strong work ethic and so I confidently went about searching for work that would support my needs as a primary carer to work a little more flexibly. This was when I was faced with the reality of suddenly entering a job market with millions of other, intelligent, capable, experienced, and qualified mothers, all needing this flexible / pro-rata work. I found work but it was incredibly low pay, under market value for the level of responsibility, due to the high demand for part-time work. Consequently, I needed to apply for Income Support, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, and I was living in relative poverty without a reasonable food budget, let alone any disposable income. In a short space of time my home was repossessed, and I was trapped in the private rental sector, further increasing my outgoings and need for benefits.

As I continued to search for work in line with my skillset and salary scale I was met on a daily basis with hundreds of social media posts inviting me to work for free, for companies with zero corporate responsibility with respect to the supply chain or Modern Slavery Act, under the ruse of selfemployment, or I was invited to work in the care sector, which, whilst is an incredible thing to do, is low paid and often underutilises your skillset. Cost to Economy The cost to the economy is evident. Instead of paying tax on a full time or 0.7FTE wage, I was in receipt of benefits, the long-term impact of this will be more evident throughout this review. Solution When I worked in Tenerife in 1998 the local government enforced a law that meant any ex-pat business had to employ a 20% local workforce, to ensure their native Canarians were not at a professional or financial disadvantage. It would be reasonable to ask the UK Government to introduce similar legislation to ensure that we do not suffer a disadvantage because of being a primary carer. It is presenteeism that drives benefits and costs the economy billions. Legislation would need to ensure at least 30% of the UK workforce are employed 0.7 or 0.8 FTE in every pay scale. Where flexible and part-time working does exist currently, it is mostly an option for support staff and not senior employees. Support staff are more likely to be on a lower wage and consequently are more likely to need universal credit to top up their income. The real drivers of universal credit are the companies who have a pay scale that does not support levelling up the Country and UK economy, and insist on 9-5, 8:30 – 4:30, 9-5:30 or later with an hour for lunch. If you cannot commit to these hours you are often locked out of work in line with your skillset and salary scale that you have previously worked towards achieving. We need to reformulate the company pay structure to visually support the circular economy, rather than the hierarchy economy. These companies would then have corporate responsibility for social impact and the UK benefits bill would be reduced by billions. Equally we need to explore the possibility of a more modern school year. We no longer need children to work the farms on the summer or stay home in the heat. We are in the 21st Century, but still operating as if it were the 19th Century. It is easy to see how a circular corporate structure would support a circular economy. The thinkers would not have an operation without the doers. We need to level up salaries and remove any structure that leaves the entry level or support staff without sufficient basic needs. This is relevant for every UK employee currently living in relative poverty because of a pay scale that is not in sync with the cost of living. Capitalism = benefits = cost to economy.

Social Impact Review continued... 1. 2. 3. 4.

Barriers to Work, Cost to Economy and Solution Barriers to Finance, Cost to Economy and Solution Barriers to Home, Cost to Economy and Solution Stigma, Misconceptions, and Ignorance

2. Barriers to Finance, Cost to Economy and Solution Barriers Once you enter a world of low income, relative poverty, and without means to put by disposable income for a rainy day, your barriers to finance increase significantly. Consequently, your level of debt further increases when life has a habit of facing you with unaffordable essential expenditure, and you end up in a trap that leaves you, and the economy, in tatters. Again, drawing on my own personal experience. Once I faced the barriers to continue my self-sufficient salary, in quick succession my home was repossessed, my credit file damaged to such a degree that I could not access affordable consolidation or rainy-day loans, and my only options were high interest loans, pay day loans, and other high interest borrowing. These loans were not used for luxury living, short breaks or big screen TV’s, they were used to cover essential bills, rent shortfall, and food. I was advised to declare myself bankrupt on several occasions, but my adversity did not sway my pride, and desire to repay all borrowing in full. I did not want to have a negative impact on the economy or supply chain, and with help entered arrangements to pay debts long-term rather than write them off. But I understand why people do write them off, as often it is unethical, capitalist lending that leaves you vulnerable to loss of life if you do not evidence the results of high interest lending. Consequently, with a determination not to be reliant long-term on benefits as a result of low pay and high rent, I persevered with setting up my own company and working on a self-employed basis, alongside part-time work, studying a law degree and solo parenting. But of course, the credit score and lack of asset security, meant that banks and other high street lenders would not help me escape the financial pit of relative poverty and I was judged only on credit score, not on work ethic, acumen, or business potential. These barriers to finance resulted in me being unable to kickstart my business and walk away from needing to claim income support. Cost to Economy Again, it is clear how financial barriers cost the economy. From the costs of bankruptcy to the long-term need for benefits due to financial adversity. Already pensions are affected.

Solution There are many ways to resolve the financial barriers that exist. Regulation of loans and cost of living alongside access to business finance and greater business support. Many women choose self-employment as a measure to continue working when society makes it very difficult for you to earn a living in line with your skillset in the sanctuary of employment security, pensions, and corporate responsibility. If the work force unwittingly holds primary carers back due to presenteeism and capitalism the UK must do better to help people help themselves generate a reasonable salary when they have a strong work ethic. The first solution would be to address the credit scoring system that leaves millions of people without access to finance. The UK is particularly good at offering student loans and it would serve well to offer similar selfemployment or small business loans. As with the bounce back loans, the bank could be obliged to lend to those in financial hardship with the promise of government underwriting. The best possible thing the Government can do is remove financial barriers and stop banks from holding people back from helping themselves. This money can either be recovered from company income, wages, or worst-case scenario benefits, as some other small loans are. But C19 has helped millions of UK constituents see that universal credit would never be a lifestyle choice by anybody who has ever drawn a wage, and that it is a truly degrading, humiliating and unsustainable way of living, if you want any life at all. This would save the economy billions in the long-term on benefits, and until the last breath, pension credits. Equally more attention needs to be given to bank charges, and higher cost of bills due to lower income. To elaborate, when you earn a higher wage and have disposable income you are likely to pay your bills annually, or quarterly, from Council Tax, Car Tax, Home Insurance, Car Insurance, TV Licence, Water and Electricity. When you have been unable to budget for these due to living without disposable income, you have to pay these monthly, when you pay these monthly, you pay more for the ‘privilege’ of doing so. When you are paying bills monthly in adversity, normally this has to be by Direct Debit. If you pay by standing order you can easily move the payment by a couple of days if you are without means, which is often a reality when you live with negative income, in work poverty. Consequently, unable to self-manage direct debits, banks will charge you for unpaid direct debits, the company will also charge you for unpaid direct debits, because it is more administration for them, instead of you. With the reality of so many in financial hardship, we need to understand that this is not poor money management, this is poor governance of income v cost of living, and inability to have the autonomy to manage one’s outgoings on a weekly basis without incurring charges. Banks profit from poverty and refuse to help people out of poverty. This all costs the

circular economy and has negative social impact. Disposable income is spent in the economy. Charges and debt cost the economy by increasing the need for benefits and debt relief.

Social Impact Review continued... 1. 2. 3. 4.

Barriers to Work, Cost to Economy and Solution Barriers to Finance, Cost to Economy and Solution Barriers to Home, Cost to Economy and Solution Stigma, Misconceptions, and Ignorance

3. Barriers to Home, Cost to Economy and Solution Barriers Entering a world of low pay or barriers to finance leaves you in a situation where you consequently face barriers to home. Again, drawing on my personal experience. I had worked for a decade prior to securing my first mortgage and I paid my mortgage for a decade prior to having to enter a world of low paid work and needing a benefit top up in order to survive. Due to the simultaneous adverse credit score I faced significant barriers to home. As part of my career journey I was a qualified estate and letting agent, and I not only witnessed, but was instrumental in, discriminating against prospective tenants with poor credit score or in receipt of benefits, and pricing both sale and rental property, at a rate that was pleasing only to the landlord or vendor, without real Governance or understanding in my twenties of how this would adversely affect the economy long-term, leave very vulnerable people destitute, and support the long-term rental trap. I am pleased that I was duly punished for this with my own experience. I returned to the same estate agent that I worked for when I was a married homeowner, and landlord, a year later as a single mum on benefits, with a poor credit score and without a guarantor, begging for an affordable property for myself and my daughter, after already being turned away by every other estate agent, and knowing fully why. They did not help me. I had to turn to private, accidental landlords, who advertised in press rather than through an agent. Consequently, these landlords / homes, were either more expensive, short-term, in poor condition, or unethical or unsafe in some other way. I moved several times with my daughter, always paying my rent, albeit with the help of pay day loans, with the constant lack of understanding from those closest to me. Asking why I lived in an expensive house instead of an affordable town house or why I was moving again, they did not understand that the affordable, longterm, secure town houses were let to those who looked good on paper, and without a guarantor I was turned away, over 100 times during 6 years of begging. Of course, my frustration, was that if I had had some help with my mortgage, I could have saved my home, my own estate, my child’s secure future, if there was help in this way I did not know about it. The UK creates booklets of advice for some minority groups, and I think if a similar booklet had been given to me in the maternity ward, the cost to the economy would have been significantly reduced.

Cost to the economy Because of this rental trap, I needed benefits, the cost to the economy is clear, but when I was eventually awarded a social housing tenancy, my income covered my rent, and so I no longer needed housing benefit, so was it me on benefits, or my landlords. Landlords who profited and gained estates at the cost of the taxpayer. My rent was £200 more than my mortgage, every month for six years. The cost to the economy over a lifetime is significant. It is not only the cost of needing to apply for housing benefit to pay private rent, but also the long-term impact of that private rent leaving the tenant without disposable income, without means to improve the credit score, without means to apply for or save for a mortgage, yet the monthly outgoings of private rent are often equal to, or more than, monthly outgoings for a mortgage. This means reduced means to save a pension, and this means paying rent to the last breath. Solution If you remove barriers to homeownership, you remove the need for housing benefit and pension credits in later life. Of course, nobody would want benefits to buy somebody a house, although it is arguable that benefits are exactly what buy landlords houses. It is reasonable to set a standard for a person to evidence a decade of work, tax contributions, and ability to pay rent before they become a homeowner, at least then if they do fall on hard times and need benefits, they are still paying into their own estate and not that of another person. The long-term saving to the economy is great, and after a decade of payslips and financial autonomy nobody will choose benefits long-term. If a person can pay their own mortgage for 20 or 30 years, they can then spend disposable income into the economy for the last 1/3 or 1/4 of their life. If they do not have a mortgage, they will be struggling to pay rent in their 60’s, 70’s, 80’s 90’s and so on. This will have an impact on each generation in that family, without inheritance, security, or the bank of mum and/or dad to help them. Equally, governance of the private rental sector. This has come a long way with respect to discrimination and fees (albeit discrimination remains subtle), but price setting is ungoverned. Private rent is a capitalist enterprise, which could at the very least offer grounds for a mortgage where deposit or credit scoring is adversely affected due to barriers to finance and work in sync with salary and skillet. The Government have offered to grants to landlords, but this money could be used to put the estate in the rightful hands of the one paying for it. Credit scoring and barriers to deposit have a lifetime affect on the economy and carries a greater penalty than bankruptcy or manslaughter. We must accept that houses are no longer £7000. We no longer live in a society where a man’s wage will pay for the cost of living, whilst his wife takes care of all childcare, school holidays, cleaning, cooking, sick days and so on and has equal share to his pension and permanent stability as a result. We live in a society where 1 in 4 households with dependents are single households. One salary no longer enables the cost of living or provides the opportunity to save a mortgage deposit. And women are no longer able to cover school holidays on top of full-time work, pension, homeownership, and high private rents. We need to make it okay for one salary to cover one cost of living, otherwise we force people to remain in abusive relationships and make adults less accountable for their behaviour and marriages hard to leave. A marriage should be a happy place, and a financial benefit, not a financial necessity.

Social Impact Review continued... 1. 2. 3. 4.

Barriers to Work, Cost to Economy and Solution Barriers to Finance, Cost to Economy and Solution Barriers to Home, Cost to Economy and Solution Stigma, Misconceptions, and Ignorance

4. Stigma, Misconceptions, and Ignorance Stigma It is often perceived that a single mum has made bad choices, that she has made a lifestyle choice, and that she is a single mum because she is work shy or uneducated. We must challenge this and help to raise awareness that most of us have a strong work ethic, happy and healthy children, and are single by being divorced or widowed after trying to do it by the book. Misconceptions We do not need upskilling, we need barriers removed so that we can use our skills, we do not need a rich man, we need barriers removed so that we can create our own stability and estate, we do not need apprenticeships, we need work in sync with childcare. We do not need charity; we need access to 100% finance to build our own business regardless of adversity. Ignorance When I refer to ignorance, I never mean to cause any real offence, ignorance is simply lack of knowledge or experience. I was ignorant and was still a perpetrator to these barriers in my early 30’s. If you do not understand what holds people back and how easily that can be changed that is forgivable, but once you know, you must do something about it. These barriers are created by society. These barriers can be removed by governance of society. Closing word Thank you for reading the Social Impact Review created by the Single Mums Business Network, UK. Crucially many of us are in business as a measure to make work work as a primary carer. We do not want to suffer financial hardship because of procreation, and we are doing all that we can to be financially self sufficient whilst working hard to ensure that these barriers do not equate to long term cost to the economy. Until things change there are many ways that the Government can help us to succeed in self-employment and we would welcome an audience to discuss that. We can contribute to the UK economy; we can be considered for public sector contracts and we can import and export where we are in manufacturing or supply goods or services. We also need protecting from ungoverned unethical recruiters who enjoy great profit without corporate or social responsibility. We are fighting to build our own pension and provide some stability for our children. Whilst this document is relevant to all primary cares, single dads, and parents in marriage, the focus here is on the 90% of single parents and primary carers in the UK who are women, but it hopes to have a positive impact in reducing barriers to all, regardless of sex or status. (c) Copyright Single Mums Business Network 26th February 2021

We have had some fantastic landmark rulings this year whereby mothers have successfully taken legal action against employers for not enabling them to work flexibly around their childcare barriers. This sets a lifechanging precedent and, this week [21.09.21] news suggests that the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) plans to allow millions of workers to request flexible working from day one at a new employer, replacing the current 26-week period…

For this we thank the Government and the Judiciary for taking positive steps in the right direction, but we do have a mountain to climb and we need legislation ensuring that childcare hours and working hours are governed properly to ensure that barriers to work no longer exist. When we are healthy and have a strong work ethic we should not need to touch the public purse at all.

In a recent response to my daughter’s school confirming that they would continue to close at 5:15 I argued: 'As it stands unless a role finished at 5pm on the dot in *town* or *town* and parking is outside of work and you are prepared to drive putting speed ahead of safety to park outside of school to meet the 5:15 deadline this is extremely stressful, and dangerous. 1 in 4 families are single parents. and most two parent families have one parent at home to avoid the childcare battle. In a two-parent family where one partner earns £28K and the other partner faces barriers, the UC entitlement is £3000, this rises to £4700 for £24K household income and so on. If you multiply this by a class of 30 these 45 minutes cost the economy approx. £115,000 per year in UC. For a single parent this likely to be more. Only a small % of the economy are top earners. If both partners could work full time their household income could increase by at least £18K per annum for your average office job, and the economy would benefit from an extra £4K per person in tax (£120K class of 30). If 1 in 4 families are single parents this increases. So for a school with 150 pupils, 45 minutes of childcare provision looks something like this. 150 parents unable to work full-time 3 in 4 of those parents married = cost to economy £431,250 1 in 4 single parent = cost to economy £450,000 (150 / 4 = 37.5 x 1000 x 12)

17:15 childcare close cost to economy per annum per 150 pupil school £881,250 - this is average without knowledge of specific local data. If all 150 can work full time for £18K would result approx. £500K annual tax income.' I added 'I hope the school can provide a better opportunity and outcome for the families within it and the greater social impact. Funds from the public sector purse should be to support public sector pay and those with disabilities. They should not be used to cover childcare barriers with an able bodied work force.' I cannot complain about this situation enough, and I cannot believe those who hold the public purse strings and could easily legislate work in sync in childcare are not making this right! Needless to say I did not get a reply, and so neither me nor any 1 of those 120 parents who may be looking for work can apply for most full time roles out there… and the battle continues…Disclaimer—my figures may be out but pay me the treasurer’s salary and I will sit down for an hour or two with a calculator! (hmmm...can the treasurer work flexibly?!)

About ELY The Charity was set up in memory of Emma Louise Young (E.L.Y.). Emma tragically lost her life in a road traffic collision. She was just 23 and our only daughter. We set up the fund in March 2011 with the objective to relieve financial hardship for families within the County if their son or daughter, between the age of 17 to 25, is tragically killed in a road traffic collision. We provide a condolence gift to contribute towards the funeral costs so a family can mourn and arrange their child’s funeral without the added stress and financial burden. We also provide help and support through other groups, such as looking into life insurance, will writing and emotional support for victims of road traffic collisions. Our other objective is to support young people across the county to become safer drivers, educating them in road safety to help reduce road collisions involving young drivers.

Website: Email: Mobile: 07877591583 Facebook: /elymemorialfund Twitter: @ elymemorialfund

It’s amazing how quickly things can change isn’t it!

WIll Guys! I am a great believer in things happening

For 23 years I had been a PE teacher at an inner city

for a reason and I was delighted when they offered

high school in Newcastle Upon Tyne. I had worked at

me redundancy instead.

the same school all that time. I got married, had two


fantastic kids and got divorced, all whilst working there!

Best decision I have ever

I quickly became qualified in ‘Protection’ too so trained all through the summer to be able to advise

Back in 2018 a colleague sent an email to all staff saying he was leaving teaching and was now a qualified Will Writer. My mum had been going on at me to get my Will in place, worried that my ex husband would potentially benefit from my estate! So, I replied to the email asking if I could get an appointment booked in. That’s when I realised…this sounded like a great opportunity and something I could work around my kids (then 8 and 11) and my school work!

clients on life insurance, critical illness cover, family income benefit, income protection and building and contents insurance. I absolutely love this too. I take great pride in making sure my clients understand their options and more importantly understand the

products. I guess this is the teacher coming out in me. There is such a gap in people’s knowledge of all this, as people just think they are trying to be sold something. But actually, if you think about it, these products are here

The Will Guys agreed to take me on and train me up! I realised very quickly that this was my dream job, I

to protect you and your family if you aren’t able to work or sadly pass away.

loved it! It was such a good feeling knowing I was

One thing the pandemic has taught us is that we

helping people make sure they were protecting their

don’t know what is round the corner and that

loved ones.


Then the pandemic hit. At this point in 2020 I was still a full time teacher and part time Will Writer. I decided to develop my knowledge further and signed up to do the ‘Estate Planning’ qualification. This is the hardest thing I have ever done, but, 3 tough exams later and 2 months down the road and I passed it! At around the same time I was called in for a meeting with my headteacher.

They told me they wanted me to

become Head of Sixth Form but wouldn’t get any

more money or time to do this! This was a chance to get out! This was just the push I needed and I made a life changing decision that I would ask for a financial settlement, leave teaching and go full time with The









I feel very blessed and grateful for the job I am doing now.

It’s the best feeling ever knowing that I am

making a difference and helping others.

When I was 16 my dad died, not long after I had started a relationship with an older man. I worked in a shop and he was a local butcher. He was very charming and good looking and he did meet my parents, my dad said to my mum that there was only one thing a man would want from me, being the age he was.

I have had many jobs over the years, but I have always kept my crafty side. I painted my daughters room with Disney characters and sold handmade cards too. I also made everything for my wedding when I was in my 30’s, unfortunately that relationship was also abusive but I wasn’t a young girl anymore and I soon became single once more. My 30’s and 40’s were very difficult, I had 5 children, 3 of which had life threatening illnesses at birth and I also lost my home. I continued to use art and craft to cope and eventually life became easier.

I got ready for my first date and said goodbye to my dad, he was hanging the washing on the line in the garden. He hadn’t been feeling well and had a doctors appointment earlier that day. So I asked him how it went, he told me that he had suffered a heart attack 2 weeks ago and that he wasn’t allowed to drive or work for 6 weeks. I told him that I wouldn’t go out and would stay at home but he insisted that I went.

When I was 45 I became chronically unwell and I had to give up my nursing career, something that I absolutely loved and worked so hard for. My son was also diagnosed with autism that very same year and he struggled to sleep, so I taught myself to sew and I made him a cuddle bed. Which I later patented and designed a whole range of sleep solutions, sensory items and soft furnishings. Which can be found in Robert Dyas and Wayfair.

My beautiful dad died later that evening of a massive heart attack, in front of my youngest brother and my older sister. My world collapsed and my heart broke, I have never gotten over losing him.

Over the years I have created lots more products and I am now printing merchandise and starting my own crafty clothing range. Sadly I can’t sew anymore because of my illnesses but I am still very creative.

My relationship progressed but unfortunately the man was a predator and a womaniser and I was subjected to domestic abuse. I became pregnant and when I was 17 I gave birth to a gorgeous little girl who I named after my dad. I raised her in a “mother and babies” home for the first 2 years of her life.

Last week I opened a shop, which has been something I have always dreamed of and I am surrounded by beautiful handmade items that I sell on behalf of crafters and artists. My shop is truly my happy place and I absolutely love what my Shop Handmade Team, and my children and I have created. We opened in 4 short weeks and I am so very thankful for all the help that I have received. In particular another single mum, Margaret Reid who fitted out the shop with her local business MRDS.

I managed to get free of the relationship and I found arts and crafts really helped me with my mental state. On my 18th birthday my Nanna died, she was a seamstress and she also taught me how to knit. My heart shattered all over again but I got through and my daughter and I moved into our own house the following year.

Please take a look at the pictures from our opening on the next page..

The SMBN supported me during my early planning of opening the shop and they recommended Purple Shoots who made it financially possible too. Another member, Susie Mackie officially opened the shop during Stroud’s Good Will evening which was absolutely incredible.

If you live in Gloucestershire please visit our shop that I have transformed from an old pub to a beautiful creative space. We are going to hold creative workshops, kids parties and crafty drop in sessions. We are located on Union Street in the magical market town of Stroud. You can’t miss our beautiful hand painted door! If you would like to sell with us please email


Tel: 01453 752448 or 07891162140 Unit 1E - Spillmans Court Middle Spillmans - Rodborough Stroud - Gloucestershire - GL5 3RU

HI,and I'Mwomen REBECCA INThe statistics around money maybe you were shouted at for wanting are frightening. In short: we live longer, something as a young child? earn less, pay more and areGRAM more likely to live in poverty. Especially as single Trauma and childhood programming parents. I am passionate about women leads to feelings, beliefs and thoughts taking control of their finances and that are blocking your wealth manageensuring that they are fully equipped to ment now. deal with all their financial needs, independently. These feelings and beliefs mean women, as a collective, are likely to play small in Some might think that earning and manthe money and success games. aging money is a simple case of charging enough and managing the expenditure, but for many women it’s not. There are multiple reasons why women struggle to charge their worth and take ownership of their finances. Negative feelings around money and success are often handed down to us from our parents or carers. They can leave us with feelings of guilt and shame connected to being great at making, saving and growing money. If you ever heard it said that ‘rich people are just lucky / greedy / bad…’ or ‘women are only good at spending money’, ‘money doesn’t grow on trees’ it’s likely you may have some money blocks. You might also be carrying some trauma around money. Perhaps you used to hear mum and dad arguing about money, or

Does any of this sound like you? Do you avoid opening your bills? Do you leave your tax return until the last minute? Do you create unnecessary stress and anxiety around money? …… Perhaps you are excellent at making an abundance of money, but can’t hold onto it. Or maybe you are excellent at making and managing money but every time you go over your usual net worth, your relationships start to suffer? There is an emotional reason for these patterns of behaviour. Until you uncover them - and heal them - your subconscious will continue to replay them.

Why is the subconscious important? Your subconscious runs approximately 96% of your life, yet it is primarily programmed before the age of seven. This means that all the unhealthy, unhelpful messages you absorbed like a sponge, are now your money beliefs. Think back to how your care-givers acted around money. Do their behaviours match the vision you have for your life? If not, you are climbing an uphill battle to achieve yours...until you rewire your subconscious and energy field. That is where I come in. Who am I? I am not a financial advisor, I am a business lawyer, hypnotherapist and coach and I work with women in business to unlock their money traumas so they can go on and handle money calmly, confidently and in a stress-free way to achieve their financial goals. It is my mission to empower women (and girls) to understand their intrinsic worth and improve their confidence and selfbelief so they can earn, save, invest and spend with joy and peace. Like all personal development, the money healing is never done. Every time we up-level and win a lucrative client, or we invest at a new level, all the same fears can come up. Which is why I have created my money membership.

Think of it as a gym for your money mindset. It is a community of women all looking to create positive relationships with their wealth, and self-worth. In the membership, you can expect monthly group coaching sessions, practical tips and workbooks, subconscious work, energy clearing and more. I’m helping create a feminine wealth movement, and I’d love you to be part of it :)

Members are always invited to share articles for the mag, but even if they don’t they still benefit from inclusion, so take a moment to

view members business cards on these next few pages, and don’t hesitate to contact them if you can use their product or service!

You can join the SMBN as a member or a friend. 5% of membership fee will be donated to Purple Shoots via Work for Good.

Member – £2.50 per week or £10pcm (two DD frequency options)

As a member you will enjoy continued exposure throughout the year via our paid signposting and in magazine advertorials. You also benefit from free monthly zoom meetings, member only meet-ups and 1-1 support with partners. You also benefit from PAM Assist, which gives you access to clinical and professional expertise, giving you a chance to talk about all kinds of work and personal issues that may be affecting you. These might include; debt advice, relationships, managing money, stress management, moving house, health advice, work issues, domestic abuse, drug/alcohol addiction, family care or bereavement.

For business PR we continuously promote you in print outside of social media..

Your membership is not so that you can sit idle on our database – your membership is a small investment to contribute to much higher value exposure. When you are in business / a self-employed Single Mum this support is very high value.

You can join the SMBN as a member if you are a Professional Single Mum in employment, or a single mum wanting to be surrounded by positive information and advice around business or work, but we have strict rules against MLM recruiting, so if you join and are targeted for MLM, that person will be removed. It is a safe space to support you on your ‘own’ business or work journey.

Essentially we are hard-working single mums who are proud of who we are and what we do.

South west

Hello, my name is Laura and I work in the skin care industry and have been a massage/beauty therapist for over 20 years. I specialise in treating the skin from the inside out, skin health and well being are my passion.

I offer bespoke facials to treat each individuals skin concern, using state of the art technology like CACI non surgical machine and Environ’s DF machine. The facials are from 30 minutes to 2 hours long. Most include a complimentary treatment of your choice, a scalp massage, a foot scrub and massage or a mini manicure- allowing some time for help towards feeling relaxed.

As my salon is called Aurora Beauty, inside and out, I offer skin specific supplements too, Jane Iredale cruelty free mineral make up, to treat your skin wholistically, along with a thorough consultation to look at lifestyle and how we can work together to achieve the best results for your skin.

I believe it’s important to take time out for ourselves from our busy schedules, when you feel your best, you look your best too! Now recently becoming a SMBN member, I’m very inspired by other members stories and achievements and am so grateful to have been told about this group and be motivated by their support and efforts, wish I’d have found SMBN earlier! I’ll be sure to spread the word! One day I’d love to open a school teaching facials and massage.

Laura, Aurora Beauty 07988805482


Based in Australia but also working in UK online

What’s the point of being successful if it constantly feels like a lie?

agencies as well as my own colleagues and managers.

People only see your mask; standing in a packed room, smiling, laughing, being outrageous and surrounded by people. They think you are so confident and have so much in life. And maybe you do: You may have the career, kids, the house, marriage...all the things that society and the status quo has told you that you should have to be happy and successful.

But in reality, I felt like a ship about to hit an iceberg, ploughing through every day hiding behind a fake smile and sense of humour to keep people from realising that I felt like an imposter. I felt alone even in the fullest of rooms, like a massive failure about to be caught out. I battled with my weight, my mind, and with anyone who said they loved me, cause what was there to love?

Physically, you are RIGHT there ……….. but emotionally, you feel a despairing emptiness and loneliness, just wanting to escape your mind and feeling trapped inside your own head.

You feel numb, fake and like you don’t really deserve any of this. If they really knew, they'd think you're mad So you throw yourself into tasks, try every fad from the gym, to getting dressed up, getting out there and putting positive affirmations all around the bloody house. But eventually that motivation burns off and here you are again in your pit of loneliness with nothing but the latest Netflix binge, feeling like a failure, broken, just not good enough, feeling like maybe nothing will ever really make you happy. You want to feel connected, to really be able to love properly. You want motivation and confidence that lasts and doesn’t burn you out. And mostly, you just want to feel happy. To be able to enjoy life and the people around you.

You are not broken or irreparable I was deemed a success to my friends and family and checked off every box of what a successful woman should have done by my age: I'd moved away, got the degree, house, marriage, kid and even the high flying job. To the outside world, I was unstoppable. I was constantly in work and in a £40k a year job, managing others and supporting others through trauma and abuse. I got outstanding recognition from external

In 2015, My marriage broke down and I was thrown into the world of a single parent.

It was becoming a single mum that broke me, but also made me I was suddenly looked at differently; I remember being asked by a friend if I was going to dye my hair blonde and start drinking Lambrini out the bottle with a puffa jacket on (referencing TV’s popular Single Mum characters of Vikki Pollard or Bianca Jackson). I got a warning from work after a 10 year clean record as I struggled with childcare and balancing everything suddenly on my own.

In April 2016, my 29 years of battling finally came to a head as I contemplated ending my life. I’d been talking to a counsellor and on the anti-depressants from the GP for months now and nothing had changed. I’d told myself for years, that maybe if I found love, or got more money, or weighed less, ate less, had more friends, was more fun, that I would be good enough and finally happy. But I had done all of these things, and nothing worked. Nothing stopped my mind from constantly making me feel more and more broken.

I finally realised that the biggest and most dangerous bad habit I had wasn't drink or work or anything external, it was my mind. What ensued was several years of getting real with myself and aware of all the thoughts that kept leading back to the same place. I left my £40k a year job and took an £18k one with more flexibility, so that I could be a mum as well as retrain in something I believed would genuinely help others. In my time of working with children and teenagers, my main undeniable strength was always being able to find a bespoke plan for each child, which is how I quickly progressed into management and creating my own in house training programmes - My approach with people was always my strength, and I could easily combine different methods to find something that worked for each individual. This is what I do in my coaching work now. We explore how the mind works to understand why those thoughts are there and pinpoint where they have come from, so that we can challenge them and get back in control of your mind and life. You can get in control of the thoughts in your head, be confident, and then get motivation that is consistent because you aren't trapped by thoughts that you can't anymore.

is more help being offered to the public, and less people feeling that the only way out is suicide. As a society, we accept that people have different tastes in music, food, preferences in partners and respond to these different stimuli in varying ways, and so why do we think that one limited and dated method/approach will work for everyone who is struggling? If I could change one thing, it would be to make our GP surgeries more like a community hub for Health and Social Care, whereby all local services are promoted and offered whether it is coaching, a gym membership, reflexology, nutritionists for allergies, etc. We browse shops, hair styles, cars, fitness classes, and so we should be supported to try out different methods when it comes to our mental health. I believe that this would not only save the NHS and tax payers money by reducing the amount currently paid out in Sick Pay, but it would also mean for happier and more balanced people and better overall wellbeing in our workforce, children and adults, which ultimately leads to less suicides and people leaving loved ones because they just didn’t know where else to turn.

One Size Does Not Fit All! After working in Residential Care for over 10 years, using typical counselling skills, therapeutic and psychological skills, I realised that one size does not fit all, and this is why the Social Care and Health systems in this country had so often failed people; Everyone is squeezed into this tiny square mould, and if you don’t fit, then you are broken, unfixable, a ‘problem’. We are told to either take pills, have counselling, or are just left as broken and to feel irreparable. Generic counselling and medication does work for SOME of the population, but we need to realise that it doesn’t for all and start investing in other alternative and proven approaches so that there

To book a free call with Nehaya go to

Or you can find out more at

Genny Jones Accounting Trainer and Consultant A bit about me My name is Genny Jones and I am an accountant who can train you to understand the basics of bookkeeping and Accounts so that you can be able to confidently manage your business finances and be confident when you communicate with your accountant or other interested parties. With over 25 years of working in the profession with various accounting firms, businesses, charities and individuals, I have developed my services based on the needs which have identified and from the services I have provided over the years.

How I can help you          

Review of your current bookkeeping systems Coach you to be confident in understanding the journey from when you buy or sell something to the end products of your profit and loss and balance sheet. Help you to recruit, support or supervise your bookkeeper. Training courses via zoom or in person: Basics of taxation for self employed and businesses Prepare sales projections and cashflow forecasts. Pricing of your products or services Understand your Profit and Loss and Balance sheet Set up and use Xero, Sage or QuickBooks bookkeeping/payroll Basics of bookkeeping, accounts and Payroll for newbies

My Charges 1st April 2021 to 31 March 2022


Free Initial consultation for 45 minutes


£30 per hour for one to one sessions

Mobile: 07490830038

1 day training via zoom £147 Additional charges if face to face

Instagram @gennyjonestraining

½ day training vis zoom £75 – Additional charges if face to face

Twitter @gennyjones

Genny Jones – Happiness and Wellbeing Consultant I have been working in the accounting profession for 25 years in various roles. Over the years I have overcome a period of work burn out, depression and low self esteem to developing my own unique happiness and wellbeing sessions aimed at businesses to help employees manage their stress levels so that they can be more productive. I work to help people not to take themselves too seriously by having time for fun and

laughter. I specialise in using laughter and humour to help people cope with everyday issues. My services and sessions are very practical and I share the techniques which have helped me , as well as those learned from others through my continued training.

My services   

Practical Happiness Tool Box with items to help maintain happiness One to one happiness and wellbeing coaching Energiser at your event – 15 minutes to get your audience smiling and feel good as demonstrated during my appearance on Britain’s Got Talent

Escape to Happiness Island Sessions: Over the years I have developed this my unique sessions which can be for an hour or half a day and can also be used for team building and employee engagement. I had the pleasure of demonstrating some of my techniques when I appeared on Britain’s Got Talent and even got yeses from the 3 judges and also got listed in the Independent on Sunday happy list 100 of people who go out of their way to share joy with others The sessions are fun packed, interactive and can include: –     

Assessing your current happiness level Tips on being happier Visualisation Laughter Yoga Singing and Dancing Arts and Craft

Benefits of the session At the end of the session participants will:     

Have better understanding of the need to have time for fun Feel good Be more productive Have a positive outlook to life Take with them a simple booklet with practical tips to cope with everyday life Happiness and Wellbeing Toolbox

Website: Email:

It was really great to hear Martin Lewis talk about the MIF being lifted in the beginning of November 2020, as part of his C19 televised support; until this, many people wouldn’t know about it or understood how it worked.. Let me explain.

If, because of all the reasons explained, you are out of salaried work, and fighting to grow a business because you do not want to live on benefits, you may still need to rely on benefits for a while. When you are a single mum on benefits, the period that you have to draw a full time wage from your business is 12 months.

Most men and women in my network know that it takes a few years to build a business to such a level that you can cover your business expenses, pay for continued growth, and draw a full time wage. A married mother will often have the stability of her husband’s income while she builds her business around childcare. If her husband’s salary worked the same way benefits did, the Government would take several hundred pound of that every month, regardless of whether or not his wife was bringing money in from her business, because she ‘should’ be. This will leave them short for rent, food, bills, council tax and so on, and certainly without disposable income. I hear you argue that her husband earns that money, but a single mum doesn’t earn benefits, but we need to understand. We trust 20% + of our wages to the Government every month without question, for a lifetime, in agreement that we will not be destitute in our hour of need, in health, or income. Single mums in

business have not chosen a benefit

lifestyle, they are not workshy, they are desperate to work, they have an extensive skillset, but because of childcare restrictions v presenteeism they lose their careers and are asked to work part time in low skilled and low paid work. So what is the bigger picture? If a single mum ‘gives in’ on building her business at the stroke of 12, she is then forced into under skilled and under paid work, and is equally forced into needing benefit top ups for the duration of being a single parent. However, if she is supported and encouraged to build her business for a couple of years, until she DOES achieve that income, she will not need benefits for the rest of her working life, and she will go back to paying tax sooner rather than later. It is critical to remember, that most mums end up in business because they need the flexibility around childcare. If it was that appealing, all men would do it too, but it is much easier to enjoy a salary, a pension, work comradeship and have the children looked after by their primary carer. I apologise this text leans towards women at home and men in employment, but that is based on the majority. I am aware that this applies to many fathers and single dads also. So what do we need? Understanding, humanity, and appreciation that we are trying to be financially independent long-term. And that the short term money we may need is our tax, that we paid without question, to ensure we are all okay if we have a physical or practical barrier. This is a real life Cinderella story of desperately fighting before the clock strikes 12.

It has never been more crucial to help people get away from needing universal credit. Anybody who has experienced it knows that it is no life at all, and UC income does not offer enough to cover rent and utilities and food, something always has to give, leading into either being cold or unhealthy as carbs and junk food are much cheaper than a healthy diet or needing NHS support for physical and emotional problems as a result. We have already covered the fact that so many are dependent on UC due to barriers that should not exist, and whilst it aims to help it is not enough and whilst the government will remove the uplift to further encourage those who can work, to work, they need to make sure that those who can work, can work. The Minimum Income Floor relaxations being lifted fell at the same time as the UC uplift removal, and so if for example you have a child aged between 5 and 12, you will need to be earning the minimum wage at 25 hours per week, that increases to 35 aged 13. That is very difficult to achieve in 12 months. Turnover, yes, profit, more time is needed. This is why I am so passionately protective when it comes to single mums falling prey to certain MLM schemes, get rich by investing in Cryptocurrency schemes and high ticket sales loops. Selling stuff for another company, working for free, for their benefit, is really not okay, not when it is sold as an achievable full time income, which normally it is not, and less so as time goes on and the market is more saturated with more and more recruited into the MLM industry in order to achieve pyramid style income. These companies need to be honest about average income, and pay proportionate holiday and sick pay and pension, instead of recruiting with the promise of a work from home full time salary lifestyle. They are

unethical and it is only those at the top of the pyramid who benefit from this lifestyle, and it is understandable that so many fall prey to this, as they are so desperate to find a way to make work work and escape the relative poverty trap, with high private rents to pay they will take desperate measures, and essentially what they are doing is losing the window of opportunity to focus on their ‘own’ business, and build their own steady income, whilst the MIF does apply. I speak from experience of seeing those who suffer most. To be clear it is not your business if you cannot choose to have your own ecommerce website or PR literature etc. It is glorified unpaid employment. These companies upset me as it is me who ends up trying to clear up their mess instead of spending quality time with my daughter. I do not blame the women who fall for it, but I will not pretend to support it either. It should be used as pocket money in spare time, and if that blossoms then great. High end ticket sales are equally unethical, they charge desperate people lots of money to tell them to charge lots of money and so on, but what are you charging for? What is the skill? If the skill is to charge people to charge people you won’t sleep well at night at the end of the day. We all need to work for a living, and we need to remove these desperate situations of high private rent, low wages, panic MIF, destitute level UC and so on that leaves people helpless to properly help themselves. Be very careful what you but into and who you give your time to, please. At least when I buy something from Boots I know the lady on the till gets steady salary and perks etc, and I still love the Body Shop as they operate differently.

Purple Shoots Business Lending (“Purple Shoots”) is a not-for-profit micro finance organisation and a registered charity. They can help you in two ways: •

Through finance. We provide small business loans at fair rates, we aren’t sharks! It’s easy to apply, with some simple forms to fill in and a meeting. We can offer help with the form filling. Sounds too good to be true? We have a track record of six years, helping people who needed a hand up, not just more hand outs. and we have made a real difference to many people’s lives.

By creating self-reliant groups (SRGs) – We provide a place for you to get together with other local people and learn new skills. Come and get empowered! Share your ideas and save and make money with other people. Take back control over your life and make better opportunities for yourself, your family and your community.

Being financially independent and working to save money might seem like a pipe dream. The thing is, all you need is a ”break” and Purple Shoots is committed to offering you one.

Purple Shoots is a registered UK charity and a Responsible Finance Provider. ‘Purple Shoots has helped start around 600 new businesses in recent years. That's 600 plus people who are no longer on benefits and who have a chance of making a go of something for themselves! ‘

As a former beneficiary of Purple Shoots lending I am proud to have pledged to donate 5% of all member fees to Purple Shoots in 2021. This will run from 1st April 2021 to 31st March 2022.

There are many ways to be self-employed and earn a full-time income, exceeding what you would earn in standard employment governed by minimum wage, here are some ideas. The only thing you HAVE to do is work really hard at it! Self-employment isn’t a ruse to keep people quiet for a year, nor is it a ticket to an easy life where you only work a few hours per week for a passive income. What it is, is an opportunity to set your own earning limits, to attend your own meetings and school plays, and to genuinely excel at doing what you love that also serves others and remunerates you.

Most of the suggestions below can easily generate £100 per day—£2K per month, for 5 x £20. plus an hour to set aside tax. Get thinking, get doing! Only you can stop you! The benefit of the MIF is that you have 12 months to say ‘this is me, this is what I do, this is me, this is what I do, this is me, this is what I do, this is me, this is what I do……’

The list is ENDLESS—but crucially you can spend two decades or a lifetime on benefits or you can spend a couple of years training up to do something you LOVE. If you are 46, you will be fully qualified in pretty much anything by 50 and you can spend 25 years enjoying work and paying a big fat tax bill—we just need GOVERNMENT to make sure there aren’t barriers, we need to make sure all of these careers can be worked in childcare hours, OR, you need to learn everything there is to know about selfemployment and work for yourself. There is always a way. If THEY won’t help you, help yourself instead.

We had SUCH an INCREDIBLE night with our children at the 2021 SMBN Awards at the Hatherley Manor Hotel in Gloucester. To share a room with so many incredible, hardworking women who have all felt pain to the core was a unique experience that none of us will ever forget. Please enjoy the pictures, they speak for themselves!

We Conquer, We Survive, We Thrive

When you work really hard in employment, your work is recognised by pay increases or employee of the month stickers! and when you work hard in study, your work is recognised by certificates or qualifications. When you work hard in business, it is easy to feel like you are suffering in silence and nobody has any idea what you are going through to make things happen behind the scenes! Awards are such a great opportunity to submit an essay about what you have done and what you plan to do! and it’s really nice to be awarded recognition for your efforts and authenticity. Don’t be shy to nominate yourself or somebody you think is awesome! What is the worst that can happen really?! we don’t issue a list of who applied! We only disclose if you make it to the finals, so go ahead, tell your story and enjoy your glory! The 2022 Awards open for Nominations soon. Google SMBN Awards for info.

If you’re a bit of a philanthropist and you fancy some PR in this mag and across our social media channels—why not sponsor us! Details on the website. The SMBN isn’t a charity and we do not benefit from any grants or charitable giving, the psychology is bad enough when you are a single parent! We are working hard to be self-sufficient with collective PR and to be liable for full rate tax without any concessions. But we DO accept sponsorship if you just love what this is about and you want to put your name to it!

Thank you to NEESIE and WILLOW HR for sponsoring categories for the 2021 awards. We appreciate you!

Looking back at the SMBN so far.. Four Members have been interviewed on BBC Radio! Six Members have been interviewed by ITV news! Two Members have been interviewed by Channel 5 news! Five Members have had exposure in National Press! We’ve been in Forbes and Business Leader Magazine! One Member was Invited to a Podcast (via SMBN) - I’m sure more have done them independently! All Members have benefitted from signposting via The Lady Magazine! Several Members have had local press exposure due to Awards! And I had a great interview with Kate Justice last month! and we have a lot more pending.. We have created a collaborative voice to showcase positive single parenting and tackle stigma whilst addressing challenges head on. We are the SMBN!

FEEDBACK Julie works tirelessly to support and connect single mums in business. Her enthusiasm is infectious, and if there’s a way to get something done, she’ll find it. As a single parent, I have found this group very inspiring and useful. We all encourage and support each other . “Julie Hawkins just want to say thank you very much for this mornings SMBN Members Only Weekly Open House Meet-up. I really treasure these sessions, and today I had an amazing light bulb moment. At a time when I am trying to develop my business, thanks you for helping me see clarity. I am now working on your wonderful suggestions and tips.” I recommend the SMBN because I have benefitted a great deal since I became a member and know many others who have also benefitted. Genny Jones –

Absolutely love being part of this Network and their meet ups. Such an inspiring, positive and wonderful bunch of women. Julie is amazing for setting this up and is always petitioning for the best for all women, mums and parents xxx Nehaya Zitawi

Julie works tirelessly to support and connect Single Mums Business Network. Her enthusiasm is infectious, and if there’s a way to get something done, she’ll find it. Kirsty Tyler

I am really grateful for this award I have wine and absolutely so blessed to be a part of Single Mums business network and also honoured to be a county coordinator for Surrey. Thank you to the founder Julie Hawkins for your heart and passion and all you give back to us Single Mums in Business.

Lidia Peto – Holistic Fitness and Coaching Absolutely can not thank this network enough, its more than networking and more than business!! Today I find myself totally overwhelmed by the support from Julie in helping my family. Kirstie I am so grateful to have found the Single Mums Business Network. They have been an immense support through my transition to full-time business owner. Julie Hawkins the founder is so passionate, encouraging and supportive, I honestly would not be doing what I am doing today if it wasn’t for her and the lovely ladies in SMBN. Shannon Andrews – The Hand Lettering Studio

Paying it forward... In 2016 I considered myself to be healed, and I wrote a book called finding happiness and freeing your spirit, which is available via my websites. I also work 1-1 as a Confidante and Consultant. When I unravelled the challenges that I faced as a single mum, I wanted nothing more than to raise awareness of these challenges to help others, hence the birth of the SMBN giving members exposure as well as a voice. I am passionate in questioning why we still have trafficking, rape, abuse, poverty, racism and homophobia amongst other things, and I have no shame in doing my bit to hold those in positions of power accountable for not taking action, when they have the power to do so.

We all have the power to make change happen, but we must work together to do this

When we are distracted with trying to survive, we are unable to find the energy to tackle bigger [outside] issues. Once we have a sense of security, and can tackle bigger issues, we can concentrate on kindness, compassion, environment, and a new way of living that means that we can all use our natural skillset without falling victim to those who take advantage. We need to kill these problems at the root, so that there is less need for charities and healers, to undo the damage that has been bought on by man himself. These people can then contribute to a greater society, a more equal way of living, whereby our people, animals and nature are safe, and healthy.

Google Single Mums Business Network. Think about how YOU can make a difference.

Find Your Power Sunday 19th June 2022 Meet our specialists in flexible working, business advice, divorce, dating, sex, menopause, finance, glamour, health and more

Emotional Wellbeing * Physical Wellbeing * Professional Wellbeing

Sexual Wellbeing * Financial Wellbeing A relaxed day of workshops, talks, exhibitors, and refreshments



There have be en times over the year s where I have desperately ne eded help! Simple things that are jus t physical ly or financial ly to o much; so we are lo ok ing for our very own t rus ted SMBN SOS team! One th ing I always struggled with was not being able to afford counselling when I need ed somebody to talk to, or not having anybody to call to help me move (again) or even if the money was there, not knowing who to trust when I need ed some skilled professionals to help me in the home. A simple TV ariel fix would leave me propositioned and feeling vulnerable in my home and so after two years of similar discussions with other single mums particularly; myself and the partners plan to manifest an SMBN SOS bus! So that when a member is in dire straits either emotionally or practically we can send out an SOS to members and trusted external contractors and professionals to see who is free to volunteer for a day or two to help make everyth ing okay. We will either pile on the bus or convoy to get the home right or smbn members will t urn up if a safe circle, good cry and box of chocolates is all that is need ed. So if you fancy being on our database to potentially give some time, and join our imminent directory of trusted and publicly accountable skilled professionals, watch th is space or get in touch via email to

And if you have that bus….. you know where to send it!

Just wow! You know that question that often pops up – if you could choose just a few people to have dinner with, well, Alison Cork would certainly be on my list, she is an absolute powerhouse, doer, thinker, entrepreneur and all round great lady to support, motivate, inspire, whilst knowing how to pull something out of the bag in an absolute humanitarian crisis to help us all do SOMETHING, when we may feel we can do nothing! I had the pleasure of interviewing Alison on Sunday March 6th 2022; we had planned the interview to talk about her journey in business, politics and health, but as the Ukraine Crisis unfolded, Alison also launched the #smallbusinessbigdifference campaign, which you can learn about on the next few pages.

You can listen to our full unedited interview by following this link

You've been an entrepreneur for well over 25 years. Tell me a bit about how You started and grew your businesses.

You've always been a supporter of women in business and started a charity to support women to start a business. Why?

I always wanted to run my own business; by process of elimination, I learned that I would be better off ploughing my own furrow, as I was very independently minded. In the 80’s that was quite unusual; I was inspired by Martha Stewart and began to focus on what I wanted to make my long -term business. I launched Alison at Home, that became an on-line business and I presented television programmes, my favourite being Home in the Country, which was filmed from my then cottage in Wales, and to rapidly condense the last 2 years I have started working on shopping television and launched Alison at Home on QVC, and I pleased to share that during the pandemic we have launched in America.

I have always been a great champion of women’s empowerment. I went to an all-girls school and that I think had quite an impact on me supporting women to fulfil their potential. I realised as a woman in business there was a real lack of parity between men and women in business and so I launched Make it Your Business, which is a not-for -profit, to help and support women running their own businesses. Currently only 1 in 5 businesses are women lead, which isn’t good enough, apart from being a complete economic miss. As an economy we need that contribution from women, and we just don’t have it.

More recently you've moved into politics what prompted that? As part of my journey in business and supporting women in business I became very interested in Politics, and actually stood as a candidate for London Mayor in 2018, which I didn’t get but it was a fascinating process, and interestingly, I think only 1-5 or 20-30% of MPs are women, which again, not good enough, and so through business I have developed an interest in Women’s Rights, Women’s Empowerment, and more latterly politics.

You've had a lot of national media coverage recently about your recent health and fitness journey and weight loss. Why did you decide to make this change?

I got into my late 50’s, and I wasn’t particularly happy with how the menopause had affected me. I do know the tricks of the trade via TV, but you know how you feel inside, and I did not feel my best. I am great believer that whatever body or mind you are given you can always make the best of it and be the best version of you you can be. I was not happy, and I did not want to slip into a silent despair of feeling unattractive or unfit, like it was all over for me, but actually, it is women over 50 who are the fastest growing entrepreneurs, we realise we have a lot of life ahead of us, and I wanted stamina, and to be in peak physical condition for longevity of my career etc. And so I went to a gym, but a gym that teaches you about diet as well as exercise. We absolutely must get processed foods and sugar (continued over)

In the past week you've launched a national campaign to encourage small businesses to donate to the Ukrainian humanitarian effort - tell me about this. It dawned on me that I have spent years establishing good contacts in the small business community, they are resilient, and they understand the principle of challenge and hardship in their own way. I thought if every business could just donate £1 (there are 5.6 million small businesses in the UK), the together, we could make a big difference, hence the tagline ‘Small Business – Big Difference’. By a stroke of luck I spoke to the Daily Mail, who have launched a campaign, and their beneficiaries are British Red Cross, who is exactly who I wanted to donate via as I know that 95% of their money goes to the intended recipient. And so via the Mail Force

registered charity, they are giving 100% of that money to the British Red Cross and CARE International, and in return the Daily Mail are supporting the small business community with some PR, which in turn helps us as we help others. As you know, press PR can be completely transformational to a small business.

We talked so much about Alison’s work, the British Library, sugar, diet, food budget, confidence, inspirational role models and more, please have a listen!

Alison and I both say – don’t give up hope – it’s not game over. We are working our magic!

(continued from page 95) out of our diet. I walk 20’000 steps a day, that’s nonnegotiable, I get up at 6am every morning, and I lost around 4 stone over 8 months, and it was completely life changing. I feel so much stronger; I love the compliments, but it is more about how you feel inside, and how people respond to you more positively when you radiate positivity. I have now signed up to climb Everest in October, because I can!

You can listen to our full unedited interview by following this link

In light of the unfolding events in Ukraine, Alison at Home will be donating £10 for every order to Mail Force Ukraine Appeal

We stand with Ukraine

Alison has great knowledge of the UK business infrastructure, and with 5.6 million UK small businesses, had a clear vision that we only needed to donate a single pound each, to collectively raise near to 6 million pound to support the Ukraine Humanitarian Effort. Alison is well educated and knew that she would want this support to be realised via the British Red Cross, as they ensure that 95% fees go to the intended recipient. With that, Alison very quickly gained the support the Daily Mail, who, via their Mail Force Charity are running the Ukraine Appeal to provide much needed money to charities giving aid including shelter, clothes, and food to refugees who need it most. This is being delivered through the British Red Cross and CARE International. Just £1 – that is all it takes to be part of making a massive difference. We (the Single Mums Business Network) have pledged to donate that for every SMBN member for three months, February, March, and April. You can donate your £1 here and mention that you are donating as part of the ‘Small Business Initiative’.

When members join, they often express relief that they are finally in a space where they are with other people who understand what they’re going through. Also that they wish they had known about ASPN earlier.

Asian Single Parents Network CIC (ASPN) is a unique community which offers social, emotional and practical support in order to build confidence, prevent isolation and combat the stigma attached to being a single parent in South Asian families. Research suggests that ASPN is the only support network for both single mums and dads across the UK for the South Asian community. Set up in 2011, ASPN has organised an array of activities for hundreds of members, including day trips, evening events and holidays and weekends away and celebrated its 10th Anniversary in September.

ASP Founder Aruna blowing out 10th Anniversary candles

The network is a safe space, where members can talk to others in the same boat without judgment. It provides company for parents when doing activities which they would have otherwise done alone. It also helps the children of members who might feel different to their peers, seeing that there are others in the same situation as themselves.

In response to the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic, the network adjusted very quickly organising its communication and outreach through Zoom activities and virtual meets, such as daily dance sessions and the weekly catchup for parents to raise spirits and help well-being. It has also held numerous Expert Q & As covering topics relevant to single parents, such as family law, financial, and parenting.

Each region has a WhatsApp group, so that people can make friendships locally too and ask for advice which they can do anonymously. The questions and responses are then shared to a new Members’ area of the website so that parents can refer to them if the same questions crop up time and again.

Here are some extracts from video feedback messages sent by members:

‘Just meeting and talking to fellow single parents made me realise that being divorced wasn't the end of my life but the beginning of a new one’ male member ‘This community and group has been so helpful for my own journey, from making great friends and networking and even getting business support sometimes[…]a really really amazing group and I wish Aruna all the best for another ten years’ female member ‘Being Asian brings slightly different challenges and this platform is really good to enable us to talk to each other about our feelings and what we are going through, I appreciate Aruna and what she has created.’ male member ‘I joined asp earlier this year, in hindsight I wish I had joined it earlier, Aruna runs a great member group, and congrats on your ten year anniversary Aruna’ female member

HAPPINESS—ARE YOU OUTSOURCING YOURS? and are you still blaming your first round of life education? You’ll be pleased to know that this doesn’t need to be overcomplicated! Just as my book ‘Finding Happiness and Freeing Your Spirit’ offers 20 simple steps to help you on your way, sometimes we just need some short sharp direction that isn’t bumped up for thickness.

It takes about ten years for your body to completely regenerate your skeleton—you would be forgiven for thinking that the skeleton you are born with is the skeleton you die with, but it isn’t, and neither is your personality or your cognitive conditioning. I often hear people complain about the way they were brought up or taught to do things, but all of this learned behaviour can be unlearned, and we can re-educate ourselves in what we know to be right, we can teach ourselves new ways of thinking, behaving, and acting out. It is true that our parents may model us as children, but you model you as an adult. It is only you that stops you, it is only your first ten years that mould your second. Thereafter you can remould, relearn, re-educate, whatever it is that you need to do to be the person that you want to be or create the future that you want to have. Of course it takes work, and time, but you cannot write off the rest of your life because you are not prepared to start over and rebirth, and spend another decade (or less) re-growing. Do you see? It is down to you, not down to your first experience of life. If you need help with this.. You know what to do,.

Are you also outsourcing your happiness? Are you looking for reassurance that you are worthy or loved? Are you waiting for another person to buy you flowers or make your life good? Do you spend money on the lottery with the mindset that this is your only route to happiness or financial security?

A way to find happiness without relying on other

people to provide it for you is to identify and break down what it is you are longing for, what problem that will solve, how that will make you feel once you have it? You need to keep going until you understand exactly what feeling you are looking for, is it security? Is it touch? Is it a healthy body and healthy mind? Is it the feeling of love? You can create all of these strong feelings when you identify the fear. Feeling unhappy is strongly linked to fear, fear of destitution, starvation, loneliness, cold, pain, and you can mask this fear by distraction by chemical or action, but when you identify the fear you can identify what it is that you need to help you feel content, safe, secure, loved, and happy.

Love is what releases oxytocin, and that is the best feeling, but this comes from many forms of love and social circles. You will be surprised the more you read about it how you can create every feeling that you need and may be outsourcing for your happiness. This is just a brief article that offers a trigger more than an in depth explanation but I invite you to learn more about your happiness hormones, think more about what it is you want and who or what you are outsourcing this to, and recognise the underlaying fear that is blocking your happiness, as per the picture below, if you fear losing your partner if you depend on them for happiness this will hinder your ability to enjoy the relationship. If you know you will be okay even if that branch breaks…. You can trust the process, and trust your gut…

CHERYL T - CHAPTER 46 ARTICLE Visualise who you are, where you want to be and where you want to go. This is your journey…make it reality. I’ve never been a person that just ‘follows the crowd’, so it’s not entirely a surprise that I started a business that wants to see people pursue their goals, have total belief in their ideas and more importantly, who they are as leaders.

I’ve made it a fun process for anyone that chooses to come on board as a client and introduced the 360 Leadership Mindset Retreats as an extension of the consultancy business which takes place in Ghana, Accra in August 2022 and the Masterclass Rejuvenate Retreats scheduled in May (UK) and October (Ghana) 2022. Well, if you’re going to set up a business you may as well fit it around the lifestyle you want to create too!

You can read a little bit more about Chapter 46, the retreats and all about me here: or follow me on Instagram www.instagram/cfortysix

At the age of 46, there were pivotal points in both my personal and professional life that made me more determined to go it alone - it was my skillset as an employee, at the end of the day, that had helped so many individuals/businesses thrive along the way in my 20+ year career history, so why not do it for myself?! Chapter 46 was formed in 2018. New start, renewed outlook. I take a unique, hybrid approach when working with individuals, focusing on the personality of the client and whether their approach to how they run their business is in sync. More often than not, they aren’t.

This isn’t because they can’t run the business, but somewhere along the line they have lost the passion, drive and determination of why they started in the first place. A classic and common tale of ‘working in the business’ instead of ‘on the business’ which can lead to burn out, fatigue and adoption of subconscious behaviours. It all sounds very heavy, (sometimes it can be) but the whole purpose of Chapter 46 is to help alleviate all of that and unravel the essence of who you truly are because it really doesn’t have to be that way.

Running a business doesn’t come without its challenges and we all need a helping hand from time to time, so I’d like to take this opportunity especially to thank Jules, the SMBN members and Purple Shoots for your friendship, support and giving me the kick up the backside to do this article!

Wishing everyone and anyone who reads this continued success on their own, individual journeys and if I can help an SMBN member in anyway at all with a bit of positivity, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. You’ve got this! Cheryl x